I'm configuring a Windows Embedded 7 device, and part of the configuration involves changing the shell (HKLM\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Windows NT\CurrentVersion\Winlogon\Shell) to a custom program.

Is explorer.exe responsible for executing the runonce entries in HKLM\SOFTWARE\Microsfot\Windows\CurrentVersion\RunOnce?

  • Did you try setting explorer as your shell to see if it works?
    – Zalmy
    Nov 23, 2017 at 2:13
  • @Zalmy yes. the entries run when explorer.exe is set as the shell. I'm looking for documentation or evidence that the reason they are not running is that explorer.exe is the entity responsible for running the runonce entries
    – frozenkoi
    Nov 23, 2017 at 2:34

1 Answer 1


Yes, if explorer.exe is not your shell the mentioned key (and other) are not executed. If you need this function, Windows Embedded 7 has a package "Command Prompt Shell with Custom Shell Support".

Shell Launcher enables you to replace the Explorer shell with a custom shell. Shell Launcher enables you to concentrate on your custom shell application while Shell Launcher handles issues such as executing the Run and RunOnce registry keys and restarting the custom shell if it crashes


In contrast we do not want to execute the runonce key with our custom shell. This is part of hardening the system against virus attacks. So we dont use the mentioned package.

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