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I have some programs I wish to start when I logon to my user account on Windows 7. Currently I am putting a shortcut in the "startup" folder in the start menu. Is there an alternative to doing this? Looking in msconfig, there are programs set to start up there, but there is no apparent way of adding new ones. How can I start applications are logon? An example would be Xfire, a gaming application that I want to start automatically, but not as a service.

  • The best answer may vary depending on what kinds of programs. Are they shortcuts, exe or bat files, or do you need some program to run as a service? I can think of a lot of ways to do this, but some might be better than others depending on what you are doing: One is even very complicated for complicated situations. – KCotreau Jul 29 '11 at 22:41
  • One more question: What isn't the startup folder doing for you in this case? – KCotreau Jul 29 '11 at 23:19
  • @KCotreau I just feel there may be a better way to do it. – Simon Sheehan Jul 29 '11 at 23:20
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I am going to cover a bunch of ways to start things, for the both the user and for the entire computer. Some of it is not specific to your question, but seems relevant to the general discussion.

In your case, I think the Startup folder is probably easiest and best unless you come up with a specific problem it does not solve.

Basically, there are numerous ways to make something start as a user:

  1. The Startup folder.
  2. If you have a real scripts, like .BAT, .CMD, Powershell, Windows Script Host (WSH), VBScript, or Jscript you can use gpedit.msc to add them as a login/logoff script (see the screenshot, but under User Configuration>Windows Settings>Scripts).
  3. Under this key in the registry:
    HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Run

To make things start for the entire computer:

  1. You can make things run as a service. It is fairly detailed, but you can follow this reprinting of the article I wrote on doing this for a VPN, and apply the basics steps to your situation and specific service.
  2. Same as above, slightly different location: If you have a real scripts, like .BAT, .CMD, Powershell, Windows Script Host (WSH), VBScript, or Jscript you can use gpedit.msc to add them as a startup/shutdown script (see the screenshot).
  3. Under this key in the registry:
    HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Run

enter image description here

There are others like the Runonce registry keys, legacy files like autoexec.bat, but this covers the most important ones.

  • VERY well written, nice job. – Simon Sheehan Jul 30 '11 at 0:03
  • Thank you. That VPN article I wrote was based on a lot of hard work to figure out how to get it to work. – KCotreau Jul 30 '11 at 0:06
  • Great job on this one, Its an innovative way to do this. I'm not marking it as correct yet, to give others a chance, but its great so far. – Simon Sheehan Jul 30 '11 at 0:14
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You can do this:

  1. Start >> Run (or press Win_Key + R>> Type gpedit.msc
  2. Under Computer Configuration >> Windows Settings
  3. Double click Scripts(Startup/Shutdown)
  4. Double click Startup in the right pane.
  5. Click Add button and browse to your program's .exe file and then click Ok then Click 'Ok' again.

This post mentions six other ways to do this!!

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