How to Find the Windows 10 Startup Folder

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There are a few ways to customize which apps will run immediately when Windows 10 starts up on your PC. But if you want to be able to specifically add or remove apps from your computer's list of startup apps, you'll need to be able to find your PC's startup folder in Windows 10. Here's a quick primer on what to expect from the Windows 10 startup folder and how to find it.

The instructions in our guide on how to find the WIndows startup folder only applies to PCs running Windows 10.

What Is the Windows Startup Folder?

The Windows startup folder is basically a folder to which you can add programs or apps that you'd like to have running as soon as Windows 10 starts up on your PC. The folder usually only contains programs or apps that you've manually added to it.

Two Microsoft Surface laptops sitting on a white table.
Drew Angerer/Staff/Getty Images News/Getty Images

The main thing to remember is that if you want to have a program start as soon as Windows 10 begins running, you'll need to add your desired program to this particular folder. And if you change your mind later, and would like to stop a certain program from running at startup, you'll need to remove that program from this folder as well.

It's also important to remember that the Windows 10 startup folder is not the same thing as the Startup tab in Task Manager, although they both deal with programs that run at startup. While the Startup tab in Task Manager does allow you to enable and disable certain programs from running at startup, the Startup tab doesn't have the ability to completely remove or add programs to the PC's list of programs that are allowed to run when Windows 10 is starting up.

If you want to be able to completely modify which programs are and aren't allowed to run at startup, you'll need to make those changes within the Windows 10 startup folder.

How to Find the Startup Folder in Windows 10

The quickest way to access the Windows 10 startup folder is to use the Run Command box method. Here's how to do it:

  1. First open the Run Command dialog box by using the following keyboard shortcut: the Windows logo key on your keyboard (It should look like tilted square divided in to four smaller squares.) and the letter R on your keyboard. Press these keys at the same time and your PC's Run Command box should pop up.

    Alternatively, you can also type the word Run in the search box next to the Start menu icon at the bottom of the screen. Then select Run from the top of the search results that appear.

  2. Once the Run Command dialog box appears, type the following command into the text box: shell:startup. Then click OK.

    Screenshot of Run Command dialog box and the command necessary to bring up the Windows 10 startup folder.
  3. The Windows 10 startup folder should appear in the middle of your screen, ready for you to remove or add programs to it.

    Screenshot of Windows 10 startup folder once it's open and ready to use.
  4. If you want to add a program:

    1. Right-click within the folder to open a menu.
    2. From this menu, select New and then Shortcut.
    3. In the dialog box that pops up, select Browse to choose the program you want to add from a list of programs.
    4. Choose your program and click OK and then Next.
    5. Select Finish.

    This will add a program shortcut for your desired program to the Windows Startup folder. Once it's added, this program will run when Windows 10 starts up again.

    Screenshot of first few steps of how to add a new program to the Windows 10 startup folder.
  5. If you want remove a program from the startup folder:

Click the program you want to remove and then select the Delete button at the top of the folder. (The Delete button icon should look like a big red X.)

Screenshot of how to delete a program from the Windows 10 startup folder.

Just because you can add a bunch of programs to run at startup, that doesn't mean you need to or should always do so. In fact, adding too many programs to this folder may result in slowing down your PC's startup. Remember: When it comes to adding programs or apps to this folder, less is more.