Execute a script in Windows: at startup and shutdown

Execute a script in Windows: at startup and shutdown

To perform certain customized functions, scripts can be run when Windows Operating System starts or shuts down. The method to execute a script at startup or shutdown varies with different versions. Here's how to execute scripts at shutdown and startup.

Note: This trick works in Windows XP, Vista and Windows 7 and recent versions, but the method varies depending on your edition.

For professional or full editions

  • Start the policy editor of the local group: Start Menu > Run > Type gpedit.msc
  • Under Vista or Windows 10 you can type the command in the search bar of the start menu or press Windows key + R
  • Go to Computer Configuration > Windows Settings > Scripts (Startup/Shutdown)
  • Depending on what you want, double click on Start or Stop system
  • Click Add > Browse and select the script you want to add.

For all editions

These steps involve modifying the registry. It is therefore recommended to make a backup before proceeding.

  • Open notepad and copy the code below:
Windows Registry Editor Version 5.00    
[HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Group Policy\State\Machine\Scripts]    
[HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Group Policy\State\Machine\Scripts\Shutdown]    
[HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Group Policy\State\Machine\Scripts\Startup]    
[HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Group Policy\State\Machine\Scripts\Startup\0]    
"GPO-ID"="LocalGPO"    
"SOM-ID"="Local"    
"FileSysPath"="C:\\Windows\\System32\\GroupPolicy\\Machine"    
"DisplayName"="Stratégie de groupe locale"    
"GPOName"="Stratégie de groupe locale"    
[HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Group Policy\State\Machine\Scripts\Shutdown\0]    
"GPO-ID"="LocalGPO"    
"SOM-ID"="Local"    
"FileSysPath"="C:\\Windows\\System32\\GroupPolicy\\Machine"    
"DisplayName"="Stratégie de groupe locale"    
"GPOName"="Stratégie de groupe locale"    
[HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Group Policy\State\Machine\Scripts\Startup\0\0]    
"Script"="C:\\script1.bat"    
"Parameters"=""    
"ExecTime"=hex(b):00,00,00,00,00,00,00,00,00,00,00,00,00,00,00,00    

Once you understand the code, you can adapt it to suit your needs by changing some of the variables.

  • C:\\script.bat represents the path to your script on the hard disk.
  • 0 represents the number of the script in case you have several scripts to run.
  • Startup is the time of execution of the script.

It is possible to add multiple scripts:

[HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Group Policy\State\Machine\Scripts\Startup\0\0]    
"Script"="C:\\script1.bat"    
"Parameters"=""    
"ExecTime"=hex(b):00,00,00,00,00,00,00,00,00,00,00,00,00,00,00,00

It is also possible to specify parameters for the execution of this script by changing the Parameters field.

Finally, save this text file:

  • Go to File > Save.
  • Give it a name ending with .reg.
  • Select All files in the list box File Type.
  • Save the file to the desired location and double click on this file.
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