How to Access the Startup Folder on Windows 11/10

The Windows OS (since Windows 95) has a Startup folder that can be used to add applications and processes to the system that a user wants to launch at startup. Windows 11 and Windows 10 also have a Startup folder, although the Startup tab of its Task Manager does do a good job in adding/removing startup programs on Windows, the need to access the Windows startup folder is always there.

There are two types of Startup folders in any Windows version (Windows 10 or 11 included), one for a particular user and the other for all the users of the machine. The items present in the Startup folder for a particular user will launch only when a particular user is logged in, whereas, the items present in the Startup folder for All Users will launch for every user of the system. The method to open these folders is different as discussed below:

Open the Startup Folder of a Particular User

You can open the Startup folder either by the File Explorer or using the Run Command box.

Use the File Explorer to Open the Startup Folder for a Particular User

  1. Right-click Windows and select File Explorer.
    Open File Explorer from the Quick Access Menu in Windows 11
  2. Now open This PC and double-click on your system drive (usually, the C drive).
    Open the System Drive of Windows 11
  3. Then select the Users folder and open the folder with your username.
    Open Your User Folder in the Users Directory
  4. Now open the AppData folder (you may have to show the hidden files of the system) and double-click on Roaming.
    Open the Roaming Folder in the AppData Directory
  5. Now open the Microsoft directory and double-click the Windows folder.
    Open the Windows Directory in the Microsoft Folder
  6. Then open the Start Menu directory and double-click on the Programs folder.
    Open the Programs Folder in the AppData Directory
  7. Now open the Startup folder and ta-da, you are in the Startup folder.
    Open the User Startup Folder in Windows

The complete path of the folder will be as under:

C:\Users\<yourusername>\AppData\Roaming\Microsoft\Windows\Start Menu\Programs\Startup

Use the Run Command Box to Open the Startup Folder of a Particular User

Although you can open the Startup folder from the File Explorer, this process is a lengthy one, but some Run command box cmdlets can achieve the same with less effort.

Use the AppData and Users Commands

  1. Right-click on Windows and select Run.
    Open the Run Command Box from the Quick Access Menu
  2. Now execute the following:
    %appdata%\Microsoft\Windows\Start Menu\Programs\Startup
    Open Startup Folder
  3. Hurray, you have opened the Startup folder of Windows 10.
  4. You can also open the Startup folder by executing the following cmdlet in the Run command box:
    \users\%username%\AppData\Roaming\Microsoft\Windows\Start Menu\Programs\Startup

Use the Shell Command:

But it is quite difficult to remember the above-mentioned commands (although you can find them in the list of recent Run commands) but no need to worry, there is the following shorter command that can be used to open the Startup folder:

Shell:startup

Fun fact: You can copy the cmdlets mentioned in the Run command box section, paste it into the address bar of the File Explorer, and ta-da, it will still open the Startup folder of a particular user.

Open the Startup Folder for All Users of the Machine

You can open the Startup folder for all users by the File Explorer or through the Run command box.

Use the File Explorer to Open the Startup Folder for All Users

  1. Right-click Windows and open File Explorer.
  2. Now in the left pane, select This PC and open your system drive (usually, C drive).
  3. Then open the ProgramData folder (if the folder is not shown, make sure the viewing of the hidden and protected system files is enabled) and double-click on the Microsoft folder.
  4. Now open the Windows directory and double-click on the Start Menu folder.
  5. Then open the Programs directory and double-click on the Startup folder.
    Open the Startup Folder for All Users in Windows
  6. You are now in the Startup folder.

The complete path to the Startup folder for All Users will be as under

C:\ProgramData\Microsoft\Windows\Start Menu\Programs\StartUp

Use the Run Command Box to Open the Startup Folder for the All User

The Startup folder for All Users can also be opened by the Run command box.

Use the ProgramData path

  1. Right-click Windows and select Run.
  2. Now execute the following:
    %ProgramData%\Microsoft\Windows\Start Menu\Programs\StartUp
    Open the Startup Folder of All Users Through the Run Command Box
  3. There you are, in the Startup folder for all users.

Use the Shell Command

You can also use the following shorter cmdlet in the Run command box to open the Startup folder for All Users:

shell:common startup

Remove an Item from the Startup Folder

Removing an item from the Startup folder (either for a particular user or All Users) is a straightforward process, simply delete the application/process/shortcut from the Startup folder.

Add An Item to the Startup Folder

Adding an application/process to the Startup folder of the Windows 10 is a bit trickier process (as compared to the deletion process), as discussed below:

  1. Open the Startup folder (either for a particular user or All Users) and right-click on the empty area.
  2. Now hoover over New and select Shortcut.
    Create a New Shortcut in the User Startup Folder
  3. Then click on the Browse button and navigate to the folder where the application/process is located. For example, to add Chrome, navigate to the following path and select Chrome.exe:
    This PC>> C>> Program Files (x86)>> Google>> Chrome>> Application>>
    Browse for the Application to be added in the Startup Folder in the Shortcut Window
  4. Now click on the OK button and in the resulting screen, click on Next.
    Add Chrome’s Shortcut to the Startup Folder
  5. Then enter the name of the Shortcut (like Google Chrome) and click on Finish.
Kevin Arrows
Kevin is a dynamic and self-motivated information technology professional, with a Thorough knowledge of all facets pertaining to network infrastructure design, implementation and administration. Superior record of delivering simultaneous large-scale mission critical projects on time and under budget.

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How to Access the Startup Folder on Windows 11/10

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