How to Add Portable Apps to Windows Startup

Are you struggling to make a portable app start with Windows? Follow these quick and simple steps to add portable apps to Windows startup.

Portable apps are the best. They require no installation to use. Just download the application and open it to start using it. This eliminates the clumsy installation and uninstallation procedure.

Moreover, even if you completely reinstall Windows, you can still access all your portable applications provided that you stored them in some other partition.

Though useful, one problem most people face is that they don’t know how to add a portable app to the Windows startup.

Generally, most portable apps have options to add themselves to the Windows Startup queue. However, some might not have that option. You need to add the application to Windows Startup in those situations manually. Follow the below steps, and you should be good. The good thing is that Windows makes adding an application to the startup list easy.

Let me show you how to add portable apps to Windows startup.

Table of contents:

Add a portable app to Windows startup

To make things easier, Windows has a startup folder. You can add application shortcuts to this folder. Once added, Windows starts the application at login. There are two significant steps. i.e., create the application shortcut and copy/move it to the startup folder. Let me show you how to do it in simple and easy steps.

  1. Go to the folder where the portable application is located.
  2. Find the portable application’s exe file.
  3. Hold the “Alt” key and drag and drop the exe file to create a shortcut.
  4. (Optional) rename the shortcut to remove “.exe – shortcut.”
  5. Select the shortcut and press “Ctrl + C” to copy it.
  6. Press “Win + R” to open the Run dialog box.
  7. Type “shell:startup” in the blank field.
  8. Press the “Ok” button.
  9. Press the “Win + V” to paste the shortcut you copied earlier.
  10. Close the File Explorer.
  11. With that, the portable app is added to Windows Startup.
  12. The portable app will start automatically with Windows from now on.

Steps with more details:

1. As I said earlier, we must create an application shortcut first. Go to the folder where you stored the portable application.

2. In the application folder, find the EXE file you use to launch the application.

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3. Hold the Alt key on your keyboard and drag and drop the EXE file. This action will create the application shortcut.

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4. To make things nicer, rename the shortcut and remove “.exe – shortcut” from the shortcut name. Copy the shortcut you just created with “Ctrl + C.”

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5. Open the run dialog box using the Win + R keyboard shortcut. Type shell:startup in the blank field and click the Ok button.

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6. The above action will open the Windows Startup folder. Press Ctrl + V to paste the shortcut you copied earlier.

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That is it; close the folder. From now on, the portable app will start with Windows. If you want to stop the portable app from starting with Windows, delete the shortcut from the Startup folder.

Use the Starter application to start a portable app with Windows

Alternatively, we can also use a third-party tool called Starter to start portable apps with Windows. The best thing about Starter is that it allows you to manage all the startup items in one place. Most of all, Starter is a small and lightweight application.

1. Go ahead and download Starter. After downloading, extract the contents and execute the EXE file. Install the application as you would normally.

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2. After installing, launch the application from the Start menu or desktop. Next, choose Current User under the Startup Folder section on the left panel. Click on the New icon appearing on the top navigation bar.

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3. Now, type in a name for the startup item in the Name field. Next, click the Browse button next to the Value field.

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4. Navigate to the portable app folder, select the EXE file and click the Open button.

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5. All the important fields are automatically filled. If you want the application to start in minimized mode, select the Minimized option from the Run State drop-down menu. Click the Ok button to save the changes.

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6. On the main screen, you will see the newly added startup portable application.

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That is it. From now on, the portable application will start with Windows. If you ever want to stop this behavior, select the item in the list and click the Delete icon appearing on the top navigation bar.

I hope this simple Windows how-to guide helped you.

If you like this article, check out how to add the Microsoft Store app to Windows Startup.

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