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Automatically Launch a program at PC startup

Many web browsers like Mozilla Firefox or Internet Explorer, and even e-mail programs, may not start automatically with Windows . Programs can be set to open when Windows starts. With Windows XP and Vista, modifying the registry followed by a reboot can make the process happen. Alternatively, one can create a shortcut by opening All Programs and completing the wizard by entering the file name that needs to be started with the PC by clicking on the Browse section. This automatic launch can be disabled too, but the procedure will vary according to the method which is adopted for launch.

The problem

Some programs such as Mozilla Firefox, Internet Explorer or the e-mail programs do not offer the option to have them load automatically when you boot your machine. These steps will enable you to set certain programs to launch every time yo log in.


Two solutions are possible for XP and Vista:

Not touching the registry

  • Go to Start > All Programs
  • Right click on "Start"
  • Click Open (Click Open every user if you want the program to launch for all users)
  • In the window that opens, right-click in an empty space and choose New > Shortcut
  • Click Browse and specify the file to start at the same time as Windows
  • Click Next to complete the wizard

By modifying the registry

Be sure to make a back up before modifying the registry as you can seriously damage your PC if you don't know what you are doing.
  • Open the registry editor then a window will open:
  • Deploy the keys:

  • You need to change the key by adding a value
    • Go to Edit menu > New > String Value:
    • Right click the new value, and then click Rename to give it the name you want.
    • It must be a filename ending .exe in order to launch at startup.
  • Close the registry editor and reboot

Disable its launch

  • If you followed the first method, simply remove the program shortcuts in Start menu > All Programs > Startup.
  • If you chose the second method, simply delete the key that you created or you can go through the msconfig tool, uncheck the box and click Apply.

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