I am wondering: how can I make sure some programs are started on the Vista startup?

Most programs offer this service themselves, but what about programs that don't? How can I make them launch at startup anyway?

4 Answers 4


Whilst C.Schmalzruber's solution may work, you may want to take a look at Autoruns from Microsoft / Sysinternals. It is designed to be more of a diagnostics tool, however it will show you all the locations that files can be run from.

From here, you can choose logon (or any other section) then you see all the locations of files that get processed and run, You can right click on the section title and click "Jump To" which should open the registry key and / or folder.

Just drag your icon there and it should launch when that section gets processed.

Click here for the Autoruns website.


The easyiest way is to copy a shortcut of the program you want to start automatically in the startup-folder.

  • 1
    Can also be done via drap-n-drop to the startup folder. You should've mention this folder is under the programs folder which is accessible via the Start Orb.
    – Moshe
    Commented Aug 26, 2009 at 13:36

for reference it can be found at this location (of course replace %username% with your username)

C:\users\%username%\AppData\Roaming\Microsoft\Windows\Start Menu

  • actually, windows automatically replaces %username% to the current user?
    – KdgDev
    Commented Aug 26, 2009 at 14:24
  • sure enough you are correct, i did not realize that was a valid system variable. I just typed it to look like one. lol
    – Mike M
    Commented Aug 26, 2009 at 14:53

Copy the program to the "Startup" group folder. Programs will then run when you login. Typical default locations for this folder are:

Windows XP:
C:\Documents & Settings\<username>\Start Menu\Programs\Startup

Windows Vista:
C:\Users\<username>\Start Menu\Programs\Startup

If you want the program to run when all users login, add it to the "Common startup" group folder. Typical default locations for this folder are:

Windows XP:
C:\Documents and Settings\All Users\Start Menu\Programs\Startup

Windows Vista:
C:\ProgramData\Microsoft\Windows\Start Menu\Programs\Startup

That will run a program when a user logs in. But your question actually asked about running a program on startup, which means the program is started, even if nobody logs in.

To run a program at startup, you can create a scheduled task, with a scheduled run time of "At system startup":

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  • @Gareth Have you been going through a lot of posts recently and re-uploading broken images? i've been seeing a lot of edits on my posts where the image is re-uploaded. Has tinypic been deleting my images? Has i.stack.img.ur been deleting them?
    – Ian Boyd
    Commented Aug 26, 2011 at 14:09
  • hi Ian, yes, it's part of preventing link rot. i.stack.imgur is the official image provider for SU and is used whenever images are uploaded. A large number of images are unfortunately already broken, including a handful from tinypic.com, so this is a prevention exercise. Hope that explains!
    – Gareth
    Commented Aug 26, 2011 at 14:24
  • @Gareth i used TinyPic before i.stack.imgur existed. So it's proactive?
    – Ian Boyd
    Commented Aug 26, 2011 at 14:55
  • yeah - the majority of new posts now will use i.stack.imgur by default, and since it's officially supported, the images there won't be deleted. The same guarantee can't be made for external hosts, as seen by the large number of broken images I've come across while doing these reuploads.
    – Gareth
    Commented Aug 26, 2011 at 14:59
  • @Gareth How, in the heck, are you finding questions with images hosted on other sites?
    – Ian Boyd
    Commented Aug 26, 2011 at 15:55

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