Many of us use the same software every day. Whether it's checking email or writing articles in Word, we all have certain software that we use a lot. After you turn on your computer in the morning, you probably go through and double-click at least one desktop icon to get started with your day's work.
Of course, if you aren't awake yet, maybe it's a good idea to do that mundane clicking to help you wake up. But you don't have to; you can have Windows start your favorite software for you. With just a little quality time in Windows Explorer, you can easily tell Windows, "I want to run my e-mail program as soon as I turn on my computer."
The key is the Windows "Startup" folder. Windows will run any program you place in this folder when you start Windows. You aren't really copying the software into the folder, just a shortcut. Because a shortcut just points to the software program, the software itself isn't affected in any way.
To make Windows start up a program automatically, follow these steps.
1. First you need to find out where the software is stored on your computer, which means you need to open Windows Explorer and find the program file. Most software is located in C:\Program Files. For example, if I wanted to run Outlook Express automatically, on my computer, the file is located at C:\Program Files\Outlook Express\msimn.exe.
Some program names like the one for Outlook Express are kind of cryptic. If you are having trouble finding the file, here's a little trick you can use. Right-click the icon for the program on your desktop or in the Start menu. In the Shortcut tab, note the path you see in the Target box.
2. Once you have found the program file in Windows Explorer, click the icon just once to highlight it. Now press Ctrl+C to copy it.
3. Navigate to your Startup folder. On Windows 98 and ME computers you find the startup folder under the Windows folder. In Windows XP, it's located under Documents and Settings, such as C:\Documents and Settings\All Users\Start Menu\Programs\Startup
4. Now it's time to paste the icon into the Startup folder. Click the Startup folder so it's highlighted and press Ctrl+V to paste the file into the folder.
When you start Windows, the program runs automatically.