Windows 10, like its predecessors, contains a unique folder that manages the applications that launch at system boot – the Startup folder. This folder holds the key to tailoring your startup experience by allowing you to determine which programs initiate as your computer boots.

With this control, you can streamline your system startup, improve system performance, and remove potential bottlenecks caused by unwanted or heavy programs launching at boot. 

However, despite its importance, the Startup folder isn’t prominently featured and may be tricky to locate for users unfamiliar with the Windows file system. This piece offers a detailed manual for locating and overseeing the Startup directory within Windows 10. 

What is the Startup Folder in Windows 10?

The Startup Folder is a special folder in Windows that contains shortcuts to programs set to launch upon startup. But why is this feature so significant?

Having control over your Startup folder can drastically improve your computer’s boot time and performance, letting you select only the essential applications you need right from the start. This means less waiting around for your PC to boot up!

How to Access the Startup Folder in Windows 10 for All Users?

The Startup folder in Windows 10 isn’t located directly on your desktop or in the commonly used folders list but is buried within your system files. Finding it requires specific navigation through Windows Explorer or a quick command through the Run dialog.

Method 1: Through Windows Explorer

Open File Explorer: The process begins by opening the File Explorer. To do this, press the “Windows Key and E” at the same time:

Navigate to the Startup Folder: Once inside the File Explorer, you need to traverse a specific file path to reach the Startup folder. The path is C:\ProgramData\Microsoft\Windows\Start Menu\Programs\StartUp. Clicking through the directories one by one, you will eventually arrive at the Startup folder that applies to all users on the system: 

Method 2: Using the Run Command

Open Run Dialog: To use the Run command, you first need to access the Run dialog. This is done by pressing the Windows Key and R simultaneously:

Enter Startup Folder Command: With the Run dialog open, you need to enter a special command to jump directly to the Startup folder. This command is shell:common startup

After typing in the command, hit the Enter key, and the Startup folder for all users will open:

Using either of these methods will bring you to the same Startup folder. However, it’s worth noting that changes made in this folder will affect all users on the system.

How to Access the Startup Folder for a Specific User?

Windows 10 allows you to manage startup items on a user-specific basis, allowing each user on a system to have a unique set of applications that launch at startup. To access the Startup folder for a specific user, you can follow a similar procedure as the one for accessing the Startup folder for all users, with minor differences in the file path or command used.

Method 1: Through Windows Explorer

First, open the File Explorer, and navigate to the following path: C:\Users\[Username]\AppData\Roaming\Microsoft\Windows\Start Menu\Programs\Startup. Replace the “Username” with the user name of your choice, as shown in the following snippet:

Method 2: Using the Run Command

Access the Run dialog, type in “shell:startup,” and hit the Enter key:

Executing this command provides direct access to the Startup directory corresponding to the presently authenticated user on the system.

H2: Benefits of Managing Startup Folder

System startup is an essential phase of your computer usage. The behavior of your computer during startup establishes the ambiance for the remainder of your session. Therefore, managing the Startup folder can bring about significant benefits that affect your overall user experience.

1: Improved Boot-Time

With only the necessary programs set to launch at startup, your computer can get to a ready state faster. This reduction in boot time can be especially noticeable if, previously, several heavy applications were set to start at boot.

2: Enhanced System Performance 

By eliminating unnecessary applications from the startup process, you free up system resources such as CPU and RAM. This improvement can translate into a smoother, more responsive system overall.

3: Customized User Experience 

Overseeing the Startup directory grants you the ability to customize your user encounter. For instance, if you frequently use a certain application immediately upon booting, adding it to your Startup folder ensures it’s ready to use as soon as your computer starts up.

4: Better Control over Applications 

Lastly, knowing what applications start at boot provides a higher level of control over your system. It allows you to maintain a more secure and efficient system by preventing unnecessary or potentially harmful programs from running without your knowledge.

Managing the Startup folder is a straightforward way of optimizing your system’s startup process to better suit your needs.


Mastering the Startup folder in Windows 10 equips you with the ability to control the behavior of your computer right from the boot process. It allows you to customize the applications that launch at startup, creating a user experience tailored to your specific needs. This powerful tool not only enables faster system boot but also optimizes system resources by eliminating unnecessary applications from the startup process.