Helping people with computers... one answer at a time.
Windows has a convenient mechanism to set programs to start automatically when you login. We'll look at that, as well as customizations like minimize.
I downloaded and activated Process Explorer: but I cannot get it to run at log-on, minimized, in the tray.
I get this question a lot for Process Explorer specifically, but it applies to many other applications as well.
I'll review how to set something to start automatically when you login, and I'll show you the "trick" to having it start minimized.
I'll use Windows 7 but what I'll be showing you hasn't changed all that much from earlier versions.
Click on the Start button or the Start "Orb" as it's come to be known in Vista and 7, and click on All Programs.
Yours may well be somewhat different, but it will have in it a sub menu called "Startup", as highlighted here.
The Startup menu is "special", in that when you login, Windows automatically locates this menu and runs anything contained within it. So the way to get something to run automatically on login is simply to add a shortcut to the program to this sub menu.
I'm going to use Process Explorer for this example, and I'll assume you have it downloaded somewhere already. I'll use C:\Tools as the folder in which I've placed it.
Locate the folder containing Process Explorer (procexp.exe), right click on it and click on Copy:
Now, back to the start menu, open it to the Startup folder as we did above. Right click on the Startup folder and click on Explore:
This will open Windows Explorer on the folder that "is" the Startup menu for the currently logged in user. It may be empty, or it may contain other programs already configured to automatically run on login.
Right click in an empty area and click on Paste Shortcut:
This will then place a shortcut to Process Explorer in the startup folder:
And, if you now take a look at your Start menu:
Now each time you login, Process Explorer will start automatically.
Most programs will open a regular window by default. In order to start a program minimized, we'll need to change a property on the shortcut we just created.
Right click on the shortcut itself and click on Properties:
In the resulting dialog, change the Run setting to be "Minimized":
Click OK, and you're done. Now Process Explorer, or whatever application you've been working with, will start minimized.
Process Explorer specifically has a couple of additional steps we probably want to take.
Before rebooting, click on the shortcut we just created to run Process Explorer. It'll start minimized, so click on its taskbar item to restore it to the screen.
As you can see, you'll want to accept Process Explorer's EULA if you haven't already so that it actually runs.
Once Process Explorer is running click on the Options menu and make sure that Hide when minimized is checked:
Most people when choosing to run Process Explorer automatically want to have it hidden - which means that only the processor usage icon is present in the taskbar notification area. Clicking on that then restores Process Explorer's main window to the screen.