How to Launch Multiple Programs with One Shortcut

Want to open two or more apps at once? Windows lets you launch multiple programs with one shortcut. Here is how to do it.

When you start the computer, it is natural for most users to launch two or more programs as soon as possible. In fact, it is muscle memory for most windows users. For example, as soon as I log in, I launch various programs like Grammarly, ShareX, OneDrive, and more. Additionally, some applications require assistance or depend on another application to start working.

Like me, If you are opening the same programs one after another daily, you might have wondered, “is there a way to open multiple programs at once?” After all, reducing the work and increasing efficiency is vital to improving your productivity.

Though there is no built-in mechanism in Windows, you can still do it with a simple trick. i.e., create one shortcut to launch multiple programs at once. Yes, much like One Ring to Rule Them All. If needed, you can also use the task scheduler to execute the shortcut on a specific trigger.

So, let me show you how to open or launch multiple programs with one shortcut in Windows operating system.

The steps below work the same in Windows 10 and 11.

Launch multiple programs with one shortcut

To open multiple programs with one shortcut, there are two major steps. First, we need to create a batch file with all the program entries. Second, create a shortcut to execute the batch file. It sounds complicated, but it is pretty easy to do.

Let me show you the whole process in four simple steps.

1. Copy program file paths.

The first thing to do is get the file paths of the programs you want to launch with one shortcut. You need these paths to add to the batch file.

For that, find the program shortcut, right-click on it and choose the “Properties” option. Go to the “General” tab and look at the “Target” field to get the program path. I recommend you select and copy the program paths to a text file.

Note that while using the path, we will split it into two sections in the batch file. i.e., the “Start in” and “executable file” parts.

copy program path

2. Create a batch file.

Once you have the program paths, we should create a new batch file. For that, open Notepad from the Start menu.

open notepad

In the Notepad, paste the below code while replacing the dummy paths and executable file name with the actual path and file names.  You can add as many programs as you want. Just replicate the cd and start lines between the echo and exit lines.

As I said earlier, split the file path you got earlier into two parts. i.e., program path and executable name with extension.

For example, the file path “C:\Users\vamsi\AppData\Local\Microsoft\OneDrive\OneDrive.exe” is split into “C:\Users\vamsi\AppData\Local\Microsoft\OneDrive\” and “OneDrive.exe.” Make sure to put the program path between quotes while pasting it into the batch file.

@echo off
cd "C:\Program Files\Program\Path0\"
start Program0.exe
cd "C:\Program Files\Program\Path1\"
start Program1.exe
cd "C:\Program Files\Program\Path2\"
start Program2.exe
cd "C:\Program Files\Program\Path3\"
start Program3.exe
exit

Once you replace the dummy paths and executables, this how it should look like. As you can see image below, I’ve added four programs to the batch files.

paste batch code

3. Save the batch file.

After adding the batch code, we need to save the file. For that, click the “File > Save as” option.

Choose the location of your choice, and type a name with “.bat” at the end of it in the “File name” field. Choose “All files” from the “Save as type” dropdown menu. Click the “Save” button. For example, I named the file “startPrograms.bat.”

save batch file

Close the Notepad application.

To verify the batch file is working, file and double-click on the batch file you just created. All the programs should open immediately.

4. Create a shortcut to open multiple programs at once.

Now, you can use the batch file as-is. i.e., double-click on the batch file, and it is executed immediately.

However, you can create a dedicated shortcut if you want. One benefit is that you can pin it to the taskbar or Start menu.

To start, right-click on the batch file and choose the “Copy as path” option to copy the file path.

copy batch file path

Right-click on the desktop and choose the “New > Shortcut” option.

create new shortcut

Paste the copied file path in the blank field and click the “Next” button.

paste batch file path

Name the shortcut whatever you want and click the “Finish” button.

name the shortcut - launch multiple programs with one shortcut

That is it. You have the shortcut. From now on, you can launch multiple programs with one shortcut. Simply double-click on the shortcut, and the programs are launched immediately.

It is that simple to launch multiple programs with one shortcut.

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

If you are stuck or need some help, comment below, and I will try to help as much as possible.

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