I'm fairley new to this. I would like to run two applications on windows 10 once it starts up but without running the explorer or any other application. I have tried using HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Windows NT\CurrentVersion\Winlogon\shell but it only works with the first application. I would appreciate any help offered.

2 Answers 2


You can copy the desktop icon to the folder that is accessible from shell:startup.

First Do:

Windows Key + R

You should get the Run prompt

Enter shell:startup and press Enter

You should get to a directory and see a couple desktop icons

Copy the desktop icon of the applications you plan to start there and close the window.

On your next reboot, the applications should start without any actions.

Here's an example of my setup:

Example of shell:startup setup

  • Do you mean that the icon should be copied, or the shortcut? The icon is just a picture that is usually applied to the shortcut. Could you perhaps edit this answer to clarify this point? Sep 21, 2018 at 15:35
  • This will run on login. How does that conform to the requirement not to run Explorer?
    – harrymc
    Sep 21, 2018 at 20:45
  • It will never open up windows explorer, it will just run the applications that have been dropped in that folder Sep 21, 2018 at 21:05

You should be using the Windows Task Scheduler (taskschd.msc).

Start it up, create a task, specify mode, define the trigger as "At startup" and the Action as running your program(s).

Note : The program(s) in question must not have a GUI that requires user action.

For more information, see for example :

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