Skip to main content

ELL Blog

Windows Programming: Start App on Login

To start an app on login on Windows, you must add a REG_SZ value to the registry key HKEY_CURRENT_USER\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Run.

The value’s name can be arbitrary, but not empty, and it’s data should be of the format path\to\executable optional args. Personally, I add double quotes to the path, however apps like docker desktop do not even though the path has spaces.

Python Start App on Login

This an excerpt of my music player’s source code. This part is free for you to use without crediting me.

from pathlib import Path

def start_on_login_win32(path_to_exe: Path | str, app_name: str, args: str, create_key=True):
    Example arguments:
    path_to_exe: r'C:\Users\maste\AppData\Local\Programs\Music Caster\Music Caster.exe'
    app_name: 'Music Caster'
    args: '-m'
    import winreg as wr
    classes_path = r'SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Run'
    access = wr.KEY_ALL_ACCESS | wr.KEY_WOW64_64KEY
    with wr.OpenKeyEx(wr.HKEY_CURRENT_USER, classes_path, 0, access) as key:
        if create_key:
            wr.SetValueEx(key, app_name, 0, wr.REG_SZ, f'"{path_to_exe}" {args}')
        if not create_key:
            with suppress(FileNotFoundError):
                wr.DeleteValue(key, app_name)