How to add Startup items to Windows 8


You want to be able to add startup items that run when Windows starts. In previous versions of Windows, you could easily add them to the “Startup” folder in the Start menu which is no longer visible.


  1. Open the Windows 8 start screen by doing one of the following:
    • Press the Windows key
    • Move mouse to the bottom left of the screen. When the start screen icon appears, click once.

    OR (as commented by Rick) Press the ‘Windows key’+’R’

  2. Type %appdata% and press Enter. This should take you to “C:\Users\<User-Name>\AppData\Roaming”.
  3. Navigate to “\Microsoft\Windows\Start Menu\Programs\Startup”. The full path should now look something like:
  4. “C:\Users\<user-name>\AppData\Roaming\Microsoft\Windows\Start Menu\Programs\Startup”.
  5. Add shortcuts to the programs you want to automatically start into this folder.

You can now add any shortcuts you want to start when you start your computer.

The start up item you place in this folder will also start, not only when you turn your computer off and back on, but will also start if you log off then log back on again.


  1. Just as a note, winkey+r will still give you the run box to enter %appdata%. Helpful little howto.

    1. Hi Rick,
      Nice Suggestion, and thank you for pointing that out! I will update the post when I get 5 mins!
      Dave H

  2. But you left out the crucial step! How does one “add any shortcuts you want”? I am now sitting here staring at the folder but have no idea how to actually put a program into it! Please spell it out for dumbos like me. I will be very grateful if you do.

    1. You need to add shortcuts to the program you want to autostart into that folder.
      Apologies for this not being so clear i have updated the post

    2. this is how far i got:

      right click…
      select new
      select short cut

      hope that helps a bit. i can’t get it to work yet though beyond that…

    3. ok then for the item you want to add to startup put in its address/location on your pc. if you dont know it use browse to search your entire pc…

    4. Once you have the folder open, right click and click new>>shortcut.

      In the wizard that opens, browse to the program you wish to autostart.

      Click Next

      Type a name for the shortcut and click Finish

      Job done

  3. after trying a couple of dozen websites instructions on how to add to startup……. FINALLY ONE THAT WORKS…………


  4. Wow! MS have done really done quite a job of hiding that. We wouldn’t want people have easy control over their system now would we.

  5. You can get to the startup folder by entering “shell:startup” in the Run (Win+R) dialog box. Just a quick shortcut to where you need to go…

    1. Under the hood (ie on the drive) it’s the same location it’s been in previous Windows versions, just with the removal of the Start Menu they’ve taken away the Programs menu that was previously the easiest way to find that folder.

  6. I think Kallipais needed a better explanation of adding the shortcuts.

    It isn’t a full response but, if the item is at least on your desktop or the taskbar, shrink the startup folder window enough so that the particular item is visible and then drag it to the folder, holding down the Ctrl key to ensure that it is a copy and not removed from where you are dragging it.

    Perhaps that could be phrased better, lol

  7. Even easier winkey+r… enter “shell:startup” (without quotes) hit enter Viola… directly to your startup folder.

  8. Are you serious?! That’s GROTESQUE! (I though it was) so easy before – and now (if find it) so complicated.
    Get real, M$!

    M$ and other associated phrases are limited to comments dated before 1999 – admin

  9. Hi, great help!

    You can also use the information you found, to make a short cut (right mouse button) on your Desktop – then put this as the thing you want for the shortcut to do:

    “%appdata%\Microsoft\Windows\Start Menu\Programs\Startup”

    That will show as “Start-Up” with a nice icon on your desktop.
    Just double click whenever you need to add some start up shortcuts.

  10. An easier way: Start->search for ‘startup’ and the startup folder should show, drag and drop into it whatever you want to start with Windows

  11. when i tried to put batch file in start up directly – doesn’t work, then i tried to move shortcut of that file there with administrator right from properties of shortcut – Doesn’t work.

    Now what i do ?

    1. Hello Edward,

      Can I ask what the batch file does, what did you create the batch file with and does the batch file require running as admin?

  12. Little suggestion:
    Just type:
    C:\Users\%username%\AppData\Roaming\Microsoft\Windows\Start Menu\Programs\Startup
    In the box of the Windows Explorer address… Or in the Run window.

    The same way you used %appdata%, you can use %username% directly…


    1. Or just put:
      %APPDATA%\Microsoft\Windows\Start Menu\Programs\Startup

      .. That’s easier 🙂


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  14. OK, I can add items to the Startup folder, but when I start the PC I get the start screen. I need to have the program I put in StartUp running full screen so someone can start using it immediately without needing to know how to find it.
    Can anyone explain how I do that?
    I have already used netplwiz to make the PC start with a particular user, but how to get past the start screen on startup?

    1. Hello Marttin, To make your computer boot to the desktop you will either need to install a third party software like or install windows update’s to bring your computer up to Windows 8.1.
      Windows 8.1 now has added settings that can be found by right clicking on the “Task bar” then clicking “Properties” and opening the “Navigation” tab.
      Hope this helps.

  15. Hi Guys I find the reason for the startup issue is because people are copying the program file itself. don’t do that. copy a shortcut to the folder and it will work fine. It seems simple but I find that is the problem. for some strange reason it will only run the shortcut for certain apps and not the application file itself. Try it and see if it works

    1. We would strongly advise against this. As you are hiding the issue and not resolving it. In the case of cooling system. Following your advice may cause irreversible damage to your system.

  16. Excellent post. I was checking continuously this blog and I’m impressed! Very useful info particularly the last part cegdebedeagd

  17. Thank you very much for this brief explanation, it has really helped me! 😀

    I’d suggest that you added another path to the %appdata% folder which is by launching the search “feature”. That can be easily done by pressing “Windows” + “S”.

    Thanks again for the tip

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