Windows 11 Startup Folder: Where is it & How to Use it

Get apps to automatically launch when the PC is turned on

by Milan Stanojevic
Milan Stanojevic
Milan Stanojevic
Windows & Software Expert
Milan has been enthusiastic about technology ever since his childhood days, and this led him to take interest in all PC-related technologies. He's a PC enthusiast and he... read more
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  • To access the Startup folder in Windows 11, you just need to open it like any other directory from File Explorer.
  • There are two Startup Folders, one for the computer and another for specific user accounts.
  • Adding too many apps to the Startup Folder can affect the boot time, but a few should do no harm.
windows 11 startup folder

Startup applications have been there in the OS like forever. These are the ones that start automatically when you boot Windows. And to add one to the list, all you got to do is drop a shortcut in the Startup Folder in Windows 11.

Remember, the apps you configured using the built-in settings to launch at startup don’t appear in the folder, and as a result, the Startup Folder could be empty at times. But, for apps that don’t offer a setting, you can always use the Startup Folder in Windows 11.

What type of files works with the Startup folder?

Although the Startup directory is commonly used to start applications, it also works with all other file types, be it a text document or a PDF.

If you want to run any specific file as your PC starts, just move it to this folder, and that’s it. This can come in handy if you have a script to run on every boot, for instance. The option to run another file type is missing in the Startup tab of the Task Manager.

How can I use the Windows 11 Startup folder?

  1. Press Windows + E or click the File Explorer icon in the Taskbar.
  2. Navigate to the following directory: C:\ProgramData\Microsoft\Windows\Start Menu\Programs\Startup
  3. Next, go to the desktop, right-click anywhere, choose New, and then select Shortcut from the menu.
  4. Click the Browse button.
  5. Browse and select the desired application.
  6. Click Next to proceed.
  7. Enter the name of the new shortcut and click Finish.
  8. Move the shortcut to the Startup directory.
  9. When the confirmation dialog appears, click on Continue.

After making these changes, the shortcuts in your Startup folder will start automatically when your system boots. Keep in mind that these changes affect all user profiles on your PC.

If you want to configure startup apps for a particular user, paste the shortcut in this location instead while replacing Username with the actual account name:C:\Users\Username\AppData\Roaming\Microsoft\Windows\Start Menu\Programs\Startup

Alternatively, you can press Windows + R to open Run and use the following command to access the current user’s Startup Folder in Windows 11:shell:startup

Adding too many applications to the Startup Folder will increase the boot time and affect the performance of Windows. So, it’s recommended that you only add the critical ones.

Also, if the computer is running slow, find out how to make Windows 11 run faster.

Are you currently using the Startup directory on your PC? Let us know in the comments section below.

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