I just added a shortcut to an app that I want to start when Windows starts to

%AppData%\Microsoft\Windows\Start Menu\Programs\Startup

It will run even if nobody is logged in? Should I do it in a different way?

That app must run 24/7 so after an electric failure from mains wall power the PC just start again and run this app by itself.

  • 1
    No, I can't, I'm working remotely on that PC, the office is locked, if I turn of the PC nobody will turn it on again. Restart would be the same? Also, to see if the app is working I must to log in.
    – E_Blue
    Jan 28, 2023 at 17:28
  • You can usually start an app as a service without the developer. .... howtogeek.com/50786/…
    – John
    Jan 28, 2023 at 17:54

2 Answers 2


A program can be run after boot, with the following two limitations :

  • It must be run as Administrator
  • It cannot be associated with any login (interactive).

The tool to use is the Task Scheduler and create a task to "Run with highest privileges" (Administrator), and with the trigger of "At startup". You should also specify "Run whether user is logged on or not".

For more information about scheduling tasks see the article How to create an automated task using Task Scheduler on Windows 10 (article chosen at random).

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    As said above - a program that is run at boot cannot have a GUI that you can see. It's disassociated from login, since it's being run before any login exists.
    – harrymc
    Jan 30, 2023 at 8:03

Despite the name, "Startup" items do not run when Windows starts – they run when the user logs in (specifically when their initial Explorer.exe process starts). So items in a user's personal "Startup" folder will only be started when that specific user logs in. If another user logs in (or nobody does), then those items won't be started at all.

If this computer is dedicated to that app (and if there is no way to avoid it being a desktop app), you can set up automatic logon.

Ideally, however, programs that must be running 24/7 should not be desktop apps; they should be written as system services (without any user interface – if desktop UI is needed, it is best to design it as a separate app that connects to the service and controls it).

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    There are apps I have setup for any user and these are normally running if I have delayed my logon for a bit (Windows 10 and 11). I do agree with you about per user apps. These will always wait.
    – John
    Jan 28, 2023 at 18:10
  • 1
    Hmm, I think it was either Win10 or Win8 where if the system only had one user account, then the OS would just preemptively log you in on boot and the "login" was really just unlocking the session? Jan 28, 2023 at 18:20

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