How To: Load programs at Startup

Jul 11, 2009

You can load any program at startup from various places in your system. Here are the places from where you can load any program automatically at system startup, lets begin with the easiest one.

1.) THE STARTUP FOLDER

This folder is located at X:\Documents and Settings\All Users\Start Menu\Programs\Startup in Windows XP. Where is X is replaced by your OS drive. You can view the Startup folder by clicking Start > Programs > StartUp.

Any program whether exe, vbs, bat any one that you will place in this folder will get automatically executed at system startup.




2.) THE REGEDIT

This is the second most easier and quite hidden way to make program load at startup. The following Registry keys helps you to execute [programs at system startup.

HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\Software\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Run
HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\Software\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\RunOnce
HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\Software\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\RunOnceEx (in XP)
HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\Software\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\RunServices
HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\Software\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\RunServicesOnce
HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\Software\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\RunOnce\Setup

HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Run
HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\RunOnce
HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\RunServices
HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\RunServicesOnce

Also there is one more key which also executes provided program at system startup, I found this key while i was trying to remove some viruses in my computer.
HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\Software\Microsoft\Windows NT\CurrentVersion\Winlogon here go to Userint normally this key is used to run C:\WINDOWS\system32\userinit.exe program but we can launch other programs too by appending them at the end of the value data, separated by a comma.

For eg:
C:\WINDOWS\system32\userinit.exe, Calc.exe


3.) THE CONFIG.SYS & AUTOEXEC.BAT FILES

QUIRKS by QUIRKE: South African Windows watchdog, Chris Quirke, has alerted me to a strange Windows quirk I never knew about. In Win95/98, COMMAND.COM launches not “Autoexec.bat” per se but, rather, the simple command AUTOEXEC. This means that the usual command line launching rules apply so that a .BAT file is first sought (AUTOEXEC.BAT) but, if one isn’t found, the OS next will look for AUTOEXEC.COM and, thereafter, AUTOEXEC.EXE! On the one hand, this is a useful trick; on the other hand, it’s an especially useful trick for malware designers!


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