How to Make Applications Run at Startup in Windows 8

In most situations, we want to have as little apps running during startup as possible, so the whole boot up process will be quick and fast. We have shown you plenty of ways to remove/disable items from the startup list, but what if you want to do it the other way – force a particular app to run during startup? Most applications don’t have startup parameters that you can configure in settings, meaning that you’ll have to manually add them. Today, I’ll teach you how to do this in Windows 8.

A Word Of Warning

If you didn’t already know, there are some negative aspects to making applications run at startup on Windows. First of all, the app could initiate before its dependencies are loaded and throw an error. This doesn’t happen very frequently, but you should be aware that nothing is wrong with the program. It’s just starting up before its libraries do. I must be honest – this might not happen at all in Windows 8, as I have never experienced such an issue, but the possibility is still there, and you should be aware of what caused it.

Also, making applications run at startup in Windows will prolong the amount of time the computer takes to finish booting. To test how much time an application will take to load up, try opening it with the computer already started. That’s half the time it would take to open at startup. The reason one particular app (such as Skype) would take so long to open during startup is because apps aren’t opened sequentially during the boot process. Rather, they are opened simultaneously, meaning that all of them will be loading up their libraries and components at the same time.

The Tutorial

We’ll follow the steps sequentially through a Windows 8 machine in its default configuration:

1. Make a shortcut on the desktop to the application you want to run at startup.

2. Open Windows Explorer and type or paste the following in the address bar:

%APPDATA%\Microsoft\Windows\Start Menu\Programs\Startup

Press “Enter” on the keyboard once you’ve copied and pasted it. This takes you to the directory holding every program that starts when Windows boots.


3. Drag the shortcut from the desktop to the startup folder you just opened.

You might see a couple of app shortcuts already placed in that startup folder. If you’d like to remove any of them, this is your chance to do it. Simply delete the shortcut and, under normal circumstances, that application will no longer start when your computer boots. Dropbox and other applications have a tendency to configure themselves this way during installation, sometimes against your best wishes.

Got Any Questions?

If you are confused about the process on how startup applications can affect your computer, please do not hesitate to leave a comment below with your concerns. I’ll be around to answer in the shortest amount of time!

Image credit: Start by BigStockPhoto

Miguel Leiva-Gomez
Miguel Leiva-Gomez

Miguel has been a business growth and technology expert for more than a decade and has written software for even longer. From his little castle in Romania, he presents cold and analytical perspectives to things that affect the tech world.

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