How to Access the Windows 10 Startup Folder

Even though the Windows Startup folder got put on the back burner quite some time ago, it is still available, hidden within the deep data structure of Windows 10. It sounds complicated to find or get to, but it isn’t at all.

Being able to find this folder can be very useful in certain situations, so it’s a good idea to familiarize yourself with it. Let’s take a look at how you can access the Windows 10 startup folder quickly and easily.

What is the Windows Startup Folder?

The Startup folder was a folder that you could find via the Start Menu. Programs placed in this folder would automatically launch each time you started up your computer.

Users could manually drag application shortcuts to the Startup folder and the apps automatically launched before or after the user logged in.

If you have Windows 10, the Start Menu is launched by the Windows logo in the bottom left-hand corner. All you do is tap the Windows key on your keyboard or click the Windows logo, and the Start Menu pops up. However, the Startup folder is nowhere to be found.

How Do I Find the Startup Folder in Windows 10?

Before we get started, keep in mind that there are now two Startup folder locations in Windows 10, including:

  1. One Startup folder that operates at the system level and is shared among all user accounts
  2. Another Startup folder that operates at the user level and is unique to each user on the system

For example, consider a PC with two user accounts: one account for Jane and one account for John. A shortcut for Microsoft Edge is placed in the “All Users” Startup folder, and a link for Notepad gets put in the Startup folder for the Jane user account. When Jane logs into Windows, both Microsoft Edge and Notepad will launch automatically, but when John logs into his account, only Edge will start.

With that in mind, let’s take a look at how you can find the Startup folder in Windows 10.

Open Windows 10 Startup Folder with Explorer

You can navigate to both the “All Users” and “Current User” Startup folders in Windows 10 using the following paths.

Note that you can either navigate to these paths via File Explorer or copy and paste the relative path in the Run box, which gets accessed by pressing Windows Key + R on your keyboard.

If you opt to use File Explorer, you’ll need to enable the “Show Hidden Files” option to see specific folders in the path.

The All Users Startup folder is found in the following path:
C:ProgramDataMicrosoftWindowsStart MenuProgramsStartUp

The Current User Startup folder is located here:
C:Users[User Name]AppDataRoamingMicrosoftWindowsStart MenuProgramsStartup

To access the “All Users” Startup folder in Windows 10, open the Run dialog box (Windows Key + R), type shell:common startup, and click OK.

For the “Current User“ Startup folder, open the Run dialog and type shell:startup.

windows 10 user startup folder
Windows 10 Startup Folder Launch Order

As a final note, it’s important to mention that the items you place in your “All Users” or “Current User” Startup folders won’t start immediately upon logging in to your Windows 10 account. Furthermore, some links may not launch at all.

Instead, the operating system launches programs in a specific order: Windows will first load its necessary system processes and any items in the Task Manager’s Startup tab, and then it runs your Startup folder items after that’s complete.

For most users, these initial steps won’t take long, and you’ll see your designated Startup folder apps launch within a second or two of reaching the Windows 10 desktop. If you have lots of applications and services already configured to launch at boot, it may take a few moments to see your Startup folder items appear.

If your computer startup is slow, it’s a good idea to check the startup folder to ensure you do not have programs in there that you don’t need to launch at boot. It’s best to keep the number to a minimum.

Here are some more tips (including modifying the software that opens on boot) about how to speed up your Windows 10 PC.

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