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I have few legacy windows applications (.exe files) that I would like to run on windows start. Note that I don't want to wait until the user logs in. I want to run them like a windows service. Since they are legacy apps, I don't want to convert them into windows services. If I put them in the "Startup" folder, they would only run when the user logs in. I want them to be able to run with out someone logging in.

Thanks.

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migrated from stackoverflow.com Sep 26 '12 at 10:25

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This may solve your issue: Running Batch File in BackGround when Windows Boots UP –  Daniel Cook Sep 25 '12 at 15:48

3 Answers 3

You can try create a task in the Task Scheduler. Point it to your exe file and select the option to "run whether the user is logged in or not".

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I am using windows xp. I set the option to run "When System runs". But it doesn't seem to work. Do I need to set different permissions? –  Sridhar Sep 26 '12 at 16:39

You need to keep in mind that the user must have "run as batch" permission, and then Task Scheduler may well be your answer.

However it is worth noting that many system services you take for granted may not be available to a batch task. Note also that "batch" in this sense isn't the same as "scheduled" since a task that Scheduler kicks off at logon runs interactively.

Stuff like video capture might not be there for a truly batch task, and I believe user interaction isn't possible even after a user logs on (even if the same user). This is something to test to be sure.

Another problem can be things such as USB hub and device recognition and "installation" which may not be complete at the time Scheduler starts your "at startup" task. Networking has some of the same caveats, especially for wireless. UPnP NAT services also take time, and aren't there until Windows gets done accumulating replies from the other nodes on the LAN (router, other PCs, etc.). This means you sometimes have to impose a delay in the program for a minute or more until the expected services are all available.

You can run into the same thing with a user set to auto-logon who has Startup folder tasks. Even though the tasks run after the auto-logon, system services may still be initializing.

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Microsoft Windows services, formerly known as NT services enable you to create long-running executable applications that run in its own Windows session, which then has the ability to start automatically when the computer boots and also can be manually paused, stopped or even restarted.

Simple Windows Service Sample

How to create a Windows service by using Sc.exe

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