Learn How to Add Applications to Windows 10 Machine Startup Menu. In windows 10, we can’t use “MSCONFIG” to disable or enable the system startup programs/applications.
I know you must be familiar with this if you’re a Windows 8 person:). So, let’s make it clear that this is not new in Windows. Microsoft had removed system startup options from MSConfig.exe. We need to use the task manager (taskmgr.exe) to control startup applications/programs/files etc… in Windows 10.
Learn How to Add Applications to Windows 10 Machine Startup Menu
How to add or remove applications/programs/files etc… to startup options in Windows 10? I’ve done this using PowerShell for a change. In this post, you will also get some tips about How to add/create shortcuts to applications or programs using PowerShell in Windows 10.
Powershell is Super cool 🙂 Probably, Deepak (PowerShell MVP) can help us to improve the PS commands used below:)
Windows 10 Machine Startup Menu
You can disable startup applications from Windows 10 Task Manager (taskmgr.exe). Also, when you want to enable one application like Lync every time Windows 10 machine starts up, you can use the task manager StartUp tab.
So what is system startup applications/programs, and what is the advantage of using startup application? Ok, startup applications are the apps that get started/launched automatically whenever Windows 10 machine restarts or/and the user login to a machine.
How about adding a new application or program to Windows 10 Startup menu for a user? What are the ways to add an application to a Windows 10 machine startup? So, there is no easy way to add applications or programs to the startup menu in Windows 10. Also, there is no button in Windows 10 – Task Manager – Startup tab to add a new application.
I think Microsoft doesn’t promote users by adding loads of startup applications in Windows 10. Probably because this will impact the machine’s performance, I would also suggest NOT adding lots of applications to the startup menu on your Windows 10 machine.
How to add apps programs or files to system startup in Windows 10? Follow the steps !!
So, if you’re using PowerShell to create shortcuts, you can directly go to STEP 4!
1. Press Windows Key + R to launch RUN. When you want to add an application to windows 10 startup options, you need to log in with that user’s id and password.
2. Type “shell:startup” in “Run” windows and click/tap the OK button.
3. The above command, “Shell:Startup” will launch a new File Explorer window on your Windows 10 machine.
In my scenario, the startup folder for my profile Anoop was located in the following location C:\Users\Anoop\AppData\Roaming\Microsoft\Windows\Start Menu\Programs\Startup
%userprofile% (environment variable to get into current user profile)
When you want to add an application to windows 10 system startup options, you need to log in with that user’s id and password. The next would be to create a shortcut for that application in the Startup folder (how to launch the Startup folder of a user in Windows 10? use the RUN command “Shell:Startup”). As you can see in the following screen capture, I’ve created a shortcut for an application called Lync 2013.
4. How to add/create a shortcut for an application or program using PowerShell in Windows 10?
I’ve created a variable called STARTUP and assigned it to the current user’s Startup folder path. Then use the following command to create the shortcut for the calculator. In this example, you need to run the following 2 PowerShell commands to create a calculator shortcut on Windows 10 machine startup folder (you need to run the PS commands with administrative privileges). So 2 or 3 things you need to remember here.
a) $Startup is PowerShell variable
b) -Name “Calculator.lnk” is the place where you want to enter the name of the Shortcut (Startup) Application name. In my scenario, it’s Calculator! Extension must be the same for all the shortcut files, and that is .LNK.
c) -value “c:\windows\system32\calc.exe” is where you want to enter the actual file path of the application or program EXE. In my scenario it’s “c:\windows\system32\calc.exe“
New-Item -ItemType SymbolicLink -Path "$StartUp" -Name "Calculator.lnk" -Value "c:\windows\system32\calc.exe"
PS C:\WINDOWS\system32> $StartUp="$Env:USERPROFILE\AppData\Roaming\Microsoft\Windows\Start Menu\Programs\Startup" PS C:\WINDOWS\system32> $startUp C:\Users\Anoop\AppData\Roaming\Microsoft\Windows\Start Menu\Programs\Startup PS C:\WINDOWS\system32> New-Item -ItemType SymbolicLink -Path "$StartUp" -Name "Calculator.lnk" -Value "c:\windows\system32\calc.exe"
Directory: C:\Users\Anoop\AppData\Roaming\Microsoft\Windows\Start Menu\Programs\Startup
Mode LastWriteTime Length Name ---- ------------- ------ ---- -a---l 3/12/2015 1:33 PM 0 Calculator.lnk
So, with PowerShell, we can create shortcuts within a few seconds rather than going through all the Wizards mentioned below. If you don’t want to use PowerShell, you can follow the screenshots below to create a shortcut for applications in Windows 10. Remember that I couldn’t find any ways to add a modern/universal app in Windows 10 to add to Windows 10 startup.
Anoop is Microsoft MVP! He is a Solution Architect in enterprise client management with more than 20 years of experience (calculation done in 2021) in IT. He is a logger, Speaker, and Local User Group HTMD Community leader. His main focus is on Device Management technologies like SCCM 2012, Current Branch, and Intune. He writes about ConfigMgr, Windows 11, Windows 10, Azure AD, Microsoft Intune, Windows 365, AVD, etc…