Many apps on Windows 10 are now Windows Store apps without traditional .exe files. While these apps work a bit differently, you can still make any of them launch at startup with the conventional Startup folder.
Use Startup Settings (Only Works With Some Apps)
The latest versions of Windows 10 provide an easy way of managing startup applications in the Settings app. This only works for specific Store applications that specifically request permission to run at startup. For example, if you install Spotify from the Microsoft Store, you can use Windows’ Settings app to toggle whether Spotify opens at startup.
To find this interface, head to Settings > Apps > Startup. Scroll through the list and toggle a Store app to “On” to make it run when Windows starts. For example, set Spotify to “On” and Windows will start it when you sign into your computer.
This is the official method, but the majority of Store applications you install won’t appear in this list because their designers didn’t build in that option. You can add apps to Windows startup, though—including Windows Store apps.
Add a Shortcut to Your Startup Folder (For Any App)
While the Settings interface won’t help you too much, the traditional way of making a program launch at startup still works. All you have to do is add a shortcut to that application to your Startup folder. This works for traditional desktop apps and Windows Store apps.
First, open the Startup folder for your user account. To do so, launch a File Explorer window, type
shell:startup into the address bar, and then press Enter.
Any shortcuts you place in this folder will be automatically launched when you sign in to Windows with your current user account.
To add a shortcut to this list, open the Start menu and locate the application you want to launch at startup. Drag and drop the application’s shortcut directly from the Start menu to the Startup folder.
Note that you can’t drag and drop an app after searching for it in the Start menu. You’ll have to find the app in the list of all applications on the left side of the Start menu, or in the tiles on the right side of the Start menu.
Some Windows users add shortcuts to the Startup folder by right-clicking a Start menu entry and selecting “Open File Location” to view the shortcut file before copying that file over. You can’t do this with a Windows Store app, but that’s fine—just drag and drop the application shortcut directly from the Start menu to create a shortcut.
If you prefer to copy the shortcut from File Explorer, open a second File Explorer window and plug
shell:appsfolder into its address bar.
You’ll see the same list of applications that appear in your Start menu, and you can drag and drop shortcuts from here directly to the Startup folder, too. However, you can only drag and drop one application at once. You can’t select multiple applications and drag them all over at the same time.
Windows will automatically run all the shortcuts in this folder after you sign in.
If you change your mind, return to the Startup folder and delete the application’s shortcut. Windows will stop launching it when you sign in.
This trick works with any Windows application—not just apps from the Microsoft Store. Feel free to drag and drop desktop application shortcuts to this folder, too.
Once you’ve added the shortcuts to your Startup folder, you can right-click the shortcuts here and select “Properties” to change their startup options. For example, you could make Chrome automatically open in Incognito Mode when you sign into your PC by adding the appropriate options to its shortcut.
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