I’ll show you how to locate the Startup folder and put a shortcut to your program there.
Is it really gone? Or just hidden? Either way we’ll work through the solution to get Windows Explorer back.
The desktop is not a place I keep things I use, because it’s always obscured. It’s also a fragile environment to keep important files because it is prone to mis-swipes of the mouse and more.
The single biggest complaint about Windows 8 is the startlingly new tiled Start menu. Don’t like it? There’s an app for that.