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How To Run An App On The Login Screen In Windows 10

The Lock Screen in Windows 10 lets you switch accounts, sign in to your desktop, or restart or shut down your system. It doesn’t do much else, and it really doesn’t need to. As far as the feature is concerned, it’s complete and supports everything it needs to support. That said, users’ needs vary and you might need to run an app on the login screen in Windows 10. It’s possible, and fairly easy to do. You will need administrative rights and the Ps tools.

Install Ps Tools

Download Ps Tools and extract the zipped file. Move the contents of the zipped file to the following location. Do not put the tools inside a folder. If you do, you will end up adding one extra step to the installation. Also, this involves adding files to the System32 folder so you will need administrative rights.

C:\Windows\System32

Open Command Prompt with administrative rights and run the following command;

psexec -sx cmd.exe

If you put the Ps Tools in a folder and then copied that folder to System32, use the cd command to go to that folder, and then execute the above command.

A window will open asking you to accept the terms of use for the tool. Click Agree to continue. The tools will be installed. To check if they’ve installed correctly, run the previous command again and you should see the following screen.

Find App Path

Before you can run an app on the login screen, you need to find the app’s EXE file and note down the exact path to it. Do not look for a shortcut to the EXE file, look for the original EXE. It should be in a folder in one of the following locations;

C:\Program Files

or

C:\Program Files (x86)

or

C:\Windows\System32

Example: if I want to run Notepad on the login screen, the path that I need is;

C:\Windows\System32\notepad.exe

System32 is where you will find stock Windows desktop apps whereas third-party apps like Chrome will be in Program Files (x86) or Program Files.

Run An App On The Login Screen

On your desktop, open Command Prompt with administrative rights and run the following command;

psexec -sx cmd.exe

Minimize the Command Prompt window. Do not close it. Now, lock your screen. Tap the Enter key to dismiss the lock screen shade and go to the login screen. Open Command Prompt with the keyboard shortcut Alt + Tab.

Use the cd command to switch to the directory that has the EXE of the app you want to run on the login screen. The syntax is as follows;

cd [Path to folder with EXE]

Example:

cd C:\Program Files (x86)\ScreenToGif

Once you’re in the correct folder, run the EXE with the following command;

FileName.exe

Example:

notepad.exe

If you want to save a file, you will have to save it to an actual folder and not locations like Desktop, or other libraries on your system.

If you do not close the apps, you can return to the login screen, use Alt + Tab and use the apps again. It’s best to close the apps if you’re done. You will not be able to access the same instance of those apps from your desktop.

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