Startup Folder

What Does Startup Folder Mean?

The startup folder is a feature available in Windows operating systems that enables a user to automatically run a specified set of programs when Windows starts. The startup folder was introduced in Windows 95. It contains a list of applications or programs that run automatically whenever the computer boots up. It is usually located in the programs folder that can be opened by clicking the start button. The location of the startup folder may vary slightly in different versions of Windows. Any program that needs to be run automatically on boot-up must be stored as a shortcut in this folder.


Techopedia Explains Startup Folder

The startup folder is a feature that is included in Windows to provide convenience for its users. It allows users to gain instant access to the programs they frequently use. The shortcuts stored in this folder open automatically every time the computer boots.

The location of the startup folder differs depending upon the version of Windows, but it can be accessed in Windows XP, Vista and 7 by clicking on:

Start button -> Programs -> Startup

It can also be located using the search function and Windows Explorer.

Programs can be added to the startup folder by opening the folder and then pasting a shortcut of the program into the startup folder. A shortcut to a program can be created by right clicking on the item and then selecting “Create Shortcut” from the popup menu. The shortcut can then be dragged to the startup folder.

Items in the startup folder can include any type of executable application such as a word processing application, mail client, Web browser or even a particular file or document that the user may want to open whenever they start their system. Individual files can be added to the startup folder in the same way as applications by creating a shortcut and placing it in the startup folder.

In later versions of Windows such as Windows 8, the startup folder cannot be located easily. It must be manually pinned to the task bar or it can be navigated to manually. For using the startup folder in Windows 8, the Advanced startup options are used. It can be opened manually by navigating through the user profile folder and then to the AppData folder to open the startup folder.


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Margaret Rouse
Technology Expert

Margaret is an award-winning technical writer and teacher known for her ability to explain complex technical subjects to a non-technical business audience. Over the past twenty years, her IT definitions have been published by Que in an encyclopedia of technology terms and cited in articles by the New York Times, Time Magazine, USA Today, ZDNet, PC Magazine, and Discovery Magazine. She joined Techopedia in 2011. Margaret's idea of a fun day is helping IT and business professionals learn to speak each other’s highly specialized languages.