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How do I make something run automatically when I log in to Windows 7?

Running Windows 7, I’d like Internet Explorer to start automatically when I
log in. How do I do that?

As is evidenced by all the malware that does it, making something start when
Windows starts or when you login is actually pretty easy.

I’ll show you one of the simplest approaches.

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The “magic” behind this approach is that there is a special sub-menu item in your All Programs menu called “Startup”. Any shortcuts you place in that sub-menu will be run automatically when you login.

Click on the “Start Orb” (so called because they replaced the Windows XP “Start” button with the Windows logo in an orb):

Windows 7 'Start Orb'

Click on All Programs, and then scroll down until the Startup item becomes visible and right-click on it:

Startup menu in Windows 7

Click on Explore to open a Windows Explorer window on the contents of the Startup sub-menu:

Windows 7 Startup Folder in Windows Explorer

Now, go back to the Start menu and locate the item for Internet Explorer – or whatever program you want to have start automatically. Right-click on the item and select Copy:

Copying the shortcut to Internet Explorer from the start menu

Now go back to the window that contains the contents of the Startup sub-menu, right-click in an empty space therein, and click on Paste:

Pasting a shortcut into the Startup Menu

Now you’ll see the item in the window:

Startup Menu in Windows Explorer showing new entry

As well as in the start menu itself:

Startup Menu itself showing new entry

Now, when you login, Internet Explorer (in this example) will start automatically.

(In case you’re wondering why the Windows Explorer window shows only a subset of what actually appears on the actual start menu, it’s because I elected to “Explore” rather than “Explore All Users”. “Explore” opens a window on the start menu that applies only to the currently logged in user. “Explore All Users” opens a window on the start menu that applies to all users on the machine. When the actual start menu is displayed the two are combined.)

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2 comments on “How do I make something run automatically when I log in to Windows 7?”

  1. Another method is the following:
    1. Send a shortcut of the program .exe you want to start automatically to the desktop.
    2. Type shell:startup into Start/search or Run and hit Enter. This brings up the startup folder.
    3. Drag the shortcut from (1) into that folder. Close the folder. That’s all.

    Reply

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