One of the items I had to do a bit of digging to find was the location of the startup folder for all users.

If you aren’t familiar with the “startup” folder on your system I will explain it briefly.

The startup folder is a place you can put executable files (.exe), batch files (.bat), etc. that you want Windows to run every time a user logs into the system. There are a lot of usage scenarios for such a folder, my specific use case is mapping a remote windows share as a drive, for which I use a batch file.

For those of you who are curious, my batch file code is simply this:

net use X: \\\ShareName /user:domain\username p@ssW0rd /persistent:no

This would mount a share called “ShareName” from a server at (fictional) ip address as the X: drive. I save that code in a text file and change the extension to .bat, drop it in one of the startup folder locations I will show below and voila, my share is mounted every time I login.

If you are coming from the Linux world you can think of it like one of the cron folders common to linux except that rather than executing its contents on a schedule it executes them whenever a user logs in.

For personal use it was easy enough to find:

C:\Users\username\AppData\Roaming\Microsoft\Windows\Start Menu\Programs\Startup

The location above will execute scripts for a single user every time that user logs in. As a system admin though often times I need scripts to execute for ALL users on a given system. That is what the common startup folder is for. I had to do a bit of Googling to find the location for the Common Startup folder. Eventually I found what I was looking for though, on Server 2012 R2 it is located here:

C:\ProgramData\Microsoft\Windows\Start Menu\Programs\StartUp

There are a couple of commands you can run from the start menu search field to quickly get these locations and I am hoping they keep these commands consistent across Windows versions. I can confirm that both of these commands work just fine of Sever 2008 R2.

To find the logged-in user’s startup folder:


To find the common user’s startup folder:

shell:common startup

That’s it. I just wanted to document this for my own personal use as I often end up scouring the internet for information I have looked up previously but forgotten.


1 of 1

3 comments on: All Users or Common Startup Folder Locations – Launch Programs at Window Login – Windows Server 2008 R2, 2012, 2012 R2

  1. Carl Lutz

    Excellent information. Direct and to the point. This information was exactly what I was looking for.

    Thank you!

  2. Ajithesh


    I have n number of machines in a domain ( Whenever I logon to any machine in the domain I need an app to play on startup.

    I cannot logon to all the n machines, go to the shell: common startup folder and paste the shortcut of the executable file right ?

    What do I do in that case?

    Please let me know!

    Thanks in advance! 🙂

    • nbeam

      I always write my articles with the assumption a person has domain admin rights. If you don’t have domain admin rights, you will need a domain admin or at least a local admin on each system to grant you at least local admin rights on each machine. If you don’t have admin rights on the machines you need to set a program up to launch on startup you are a bit out of legitimate luck :(. Someone else might have another suggestion though.

Join the discussion

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *