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In windows server, I would like to start applications when the machine boots up that would be running when I remote log-in using terminal services. Is this possible? I specifically need it to start when the machine boots, not when I log-in for the first time.

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You can do this if you're willing to configure automatic logon for your own account, or an account you'll use to connect to that machine with. When the machine boots, it will log itself in, then follow Richie068's advice WRT start menu etc. We do that for a few servers where I work just not with personal accounts.

To configure auto logon, follow the instructions for KB article 315231 or 310584. Please be sure to use a special user account for this purpose, not your personal one. The idea is that you'll then connect to this machine via remote desktop using the /console or /admin switch and log in as that special user.

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This looks like best idea. How do you recommend setting up auto-login? I see one related question on serverfault. – David Nehme Oct 11 '12 at 17:06
I will edit my answer to include the relevant KB articles. – Mark Allen Oct 11 '12 at 18:13

Have you tried adding shortcuts to startup? I use the startup folder to launch various batch files whenever I log into various machines at work via terminal services. The batch files call on various tools like BGInfo (which displays system info, and updates when I login to show various details about the computer I am logged into), mapping network drives, etc.

If you want to have the application run for all users, do the following:

  1. Go to Start > Programs > right click on Startup
  2. Select Explore All Users
  3. Copy/paste shortcuts, batch files, or whatever items you want to launch for any user who logs in to this folder in explorer.
  4. Log out of the server
  5. Log back in with any user account and see if the application loads or not.

Depending on the application, you may need to tweak things sligtly in order to get everything working.

To do this for just a single user:

  1. Log in as the user that you want the apps/scripts to run at login
  2. Go to Start > Programs > right click on Startup
  3. Select Explore (instead of Explore All Users)
  4. Copy/paste shortcuts, batch files, or whatever items you want to launch for the user you are logged in as.
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David - did this end up working for you? – Richie086 Oct 15 '12 at 17:48

Have a look in the registry (open regedit.exe) at HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Run HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\Software\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Run

The first defines what happens when the current user is logged in, and the other, "any user".

Here the OS secifies what applications to run at startup. You can write your own by right-clicking and adding a new "String value" with the application's name in the Name field and its path in the Value field. There are probably some examples there already.

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