Windows 10 can automatically run apps at Startup. Some of these apps such as Windows Defender, are stock apps that the OS has added to the Startup items list. Other apps can be added or removed by a user. Some apps have a ‘Run at startup’ option in their settings which makes it easy to add them to the startup items list. Apps that do not have this option must be added to the startup item list manually by adding them to the Startup folder.
Windows 10 Startup folder
The Startup folder is a system folder that contains apps, files, and scripts that will open when Windows 10 boots to the desktop. This folder should not be confused with the Start Menu folder which is for storing Start Menu apps/tiles.
There are two types of Startup folders; a user specific folder, and a Startup folder for all users. The user specific folder will contain all items that a user wants to run at startup whereas the startup folder for all users will contain items that will run at startup for all users that log on to the system.
Windows 10 Startup Folder location
The only trick to adding an item to the Startup folder is knowing where it is.
To find the user specific Startup folder, follow these steps;
- Tap the Win+R keyboard shortcut to open the run box.
- In the run box, enter
%AppData%and tap the Enter key.
- In the folder that opens, go to
Alternatively, you can paste this in the File Explorer location bar but replace Username with your username,
To find the Startup folder for all users, follow these steps;
- Open File Explorer.
- Go to the View tab.
- Enable ‘Hidden items’ to show hidden files and folders.
- Open the C drive.
- Go to
Alternatively, paste this in the location bar in File Explorer and tap Enter.
Add apps to Windows 10 Startup folder
Adding apps to the Startup folder is simple. You can follow the same process for both types of Startup folders however, for the Startup folder for all users, you will need admin rights to add an item.
- Right-click the app, file, or folder that you want to add to the Startup folder.
- Select Send to>Desktop (Create shortcut).
- Open the Startup folder.
- Cut the desktop shortcut for the app and paste it into the Startup folder.
Note: Windows 10 will generally block scripts from running at Startup but all other files types, including Autohotkey scripts will work. If you want the app to run with admin rights on startup, you will need to modify the shortcut.
Remove apps from Windows 10 Startup folder
To remove an app, file, or folder from the Startup folder, open it and delete the item.
Knowing where the Startup folder is allows you to easily trim which apps run on boot. Ideally, you want to keep non-essential apps out of this folder so that your system finishes booting more quickly. You can always manually run apps when you need them.