How to use the Windows 11 Startup folder

Milan Stanojevic
by Milan Stanojevic
Windows & Software Expert
Milan has been enthusiastic about PCs ever since his childhood days, and this led him to take interest in all PC-related technologies. Before joining WindowsReport, he worked as a front-end web developer. Read more
Affiliate Disclosure
  • To access the Startup folder in Windows 11, you just need to open it like any other directory from File Explorer.
  • Feel free to customize your settings and have different apps starting for each user on your PC.
  • It’s also possible to configure the main Windows Startup folder for all users on a single computer.
windows 11 startup folder
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Ever since the first versions of Windows were released, the startup applications were present. This is the type of software that would start automatically with your operating system.

Nowadays, many programs have an option that allows you to enable automatic startup, and by doing so, they can start along with your computer.

However, not all applications have this feature, so is there a way to run them automatically with your PC? The answer is yes, and to do that, you need to use the Startup folder.

In case you’re not familiar with this feature, no need to worry, because this article will tell you everything there is to know about the Windows 11 Startup folder.

How does the Startup folder work?

Startup folder is a special feature that lets you run certain applications as soon as your operating system boots. This feature has been present for years, and it was first introduced in Windows 95.

In the past, this was the only way to start applications automatically, and this method can still be used, even if many programs have built-in support for automatic startup.

However, not all software programs have this feature, and this is where the Startup folder comes in handy. To learn more, about this folder and how to find it, just check our Startup folder location article.

What type of files work with the Startup folder?

Although the Startup directory is commonly used to start applications, it also works with all other file types.

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 that you need to run on every boot, for example.

Most regular users probably won’t find this too useful, but we’re positive that more tech-savvy users will find interesting ways to utilize this feature.

How can I use the Windows 11 Startup folder?

Create a shortcut in the Startup folder

  1. Click the File Explorer icon in the Taskbar.
  2. Navigate to the following directory: C:\ProgramData\Microsoft\Windows\Start Menu\Programs\Startup
  3. Right-click your desktop and choose New. Now select Shortcut from the menu.
  4. Click the Browse button.
  5. 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 yet keep in mind that these changes affect all user profiles on your PC.

If you can’t run File Explorer properly, we have a guide on what to do if File Explorer is crashing in Windows 11 that is worth checking out.

How to set startup items for different accounts?

Each profile on your PC has its own Startup folder, and if you want to have different startup apps for different users, that’s also possible and easy to do. To do that, just follow these steps:

  1. Open File Explorer from the Taskbar.
  2. Navigate to the following directory (replace the username with the one from your PC):
    C:\Users\WindowsReport\AppData\Roaming\Microsoft\Windows\Start Menu\Programs\Startup
  3. Now move the desired shortcut to the Startup directory.

You can also quickly open the Startup directory for the currently logged in account by doing the following:

  1. Press Windows Key + R to open the run dialog.
  2. Now enter shell:startup and click OK.
  3. The Startup window should now appear.

Can I disable startup items from Task Manager?

Task Manager lets you control which applications start automatically with your PC, and it even works with files and applications from the Startup folder.

To disable an app from startup up with your PC, do the following:

  1. Press Ctrl + Shift + Esc to start Task Manager.
  2. Navigate to the Startup tab and right-click the application that you want to disable. Choose Disable from the menu.
  3. Repeat this step for all startup applications that you don’t want to use.

If you’re not familiar with Task Manager as a tool, be sure not to miss our guide on how to open Task Manager in Windows 11.

The Startup folder on Windows 11 still works the same as in the previous versions of Windows, and you can use it if you want to make sure that certain apps are starting along with your operating system.

Although this is a simplistic feature, it works great with all types of files, and it can be useful if you want to run an application that can’t start natively with Windows.

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

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