Windows 7 - Starting Application Programs Automatically

If you always use a certain application program when you start your computer, you can configure Windows to start that program automatically. For example, maybe you use Microsoft Office Outlook all the time for your e-mail and want it to open as soon as you log in to the computer so that you don’t have to start it yourself.

You can also make folders open automatically. For example, you can have Windows automatically open the main folder for your user account at startup so that you can quickly get to other folders, such as Documents, Pictures, or Music.

You have a couple of ways to make programs start automatically when you log in. The first is to add a shortcut for the program to one of the two Startup folders provided by Windows. One Startup folder is for your user account; the other is for all users of the computer. Your Startup folder is located in the folder \Users\\AppData\Roaming\Microsoft\Windows\Start Menu\Programs, where is your username (such as jim). The Startup folder for everyone who uses the computer is located in the hidden folder \ProgramData\Microsoft\Windows\Start Menu\Programs. If you want a program to start automatically for you, put a shortcut for the program in your Startup folder. If you want a program to start automatically for everyone, you can instead put it in the Startup folder for all users.

Assuming that you’re already logged in to your user account, the steps to open your own Startup folder are easy:
1. Click the Start button and choose All Programs.
2. If necessary, scroll down until you see the Startup folder icon on the menu.
3. Right-click that Startup icon and choose Open. It opens as a folder on the desktop.

Optionally, to give yourself some elbow room, size and position the window. You don’t need the Navigation pane here, so you can close that if it’s open (click the Organize button and choose Organize -> Layout -> Navigation Pane).

To make an application program auto-start, right-drag (drag with the right mouse button) its icon from the All Programs menu into the main pane of the Startup folder and drop it there; then choose Create Shortcuts Here. Keep in mind that the more programs you add to the folder, the longer it will take for your computer to start. So don’t get carried away and put all your favorite programs in there. One or two should be sufficient.

If you accidentally moved a shortcut from the Start menu instead of copying it, right-click some empty space in the Startup folder and choose Undo Move. Or just drag it back to its old location on the Start menu. When you’ve finished, close the Startup folder. Windows Defender may show a message alerting you to the fact that your startup options have changed. No cause for alarm. In this case the message is superfluous because you intentionally changed your startup programs. Defender doesn’t know that, however. It’s just doing one of its many jobs, which in this situation is to keep you informed of changes to your Startup options.

To add a program’s shortcut to the Startup folder for all users so that it starts for everyone, use the same process as described previously except drag the icon to the all users Startup folder rather than your personal Startup folder.

Bypassing all Startup folder programs
Windows gives you a quick and easy way to bypass all programs that start automatically from either of the Startup folders. For example, if you are having problems with a particular program causing startup problems, or you have lots of programs and just want to get to your desktop quickly, you can bypass all Startup programs so that none of them start. To do so, click your user account in the login screen, type your password, and press Enter. Immediately press and hold the left Shift key. Keep pressing the Shift key until the Start menu, desktop icons, and taskbar all appear. If programs from the Startup folders still start automatically, you’re not holding the Shift key long enough.

Stopping auto-start applications
Should you ever change your mind about auto-start applications, you just need to reopen that Startup folder for your user account. Then delete the shortcut icon for any program you don’t want to auto-start. Or, if you moved it from another location, move it back (out of the Startup folder.) However, not all programs that auto-start will be in the Startup folder for your user account. Some may be in the Startup folder for all users.

To view, and optionally remove, programs that start automatically in all user accounts, you need to get to the all users Startup folder. You may need administrative privileges to make changes to that folder, so be prepared to enter an administrative password if you’re working from a standard account. The basic procedure is easy: Click the Start button and choose All Programs. Right-click the Startup folder again, but this time choose Open All Users.

The All Users Startup folder works just like the Startup folder for a single user account. If you want a program to auto-start in all user accounts, drag that program’s icon into the folder. If you want to stop a program from auto-starting in all user accounts, delete its icon from that Startup folder. But again, stick with programs you know. Removing programs from the All Users Startup folder at random could have unpleasant consequences that you weren’t expecting.

Source of Information : Windows 7 Bible (2009)

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