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Windows has several mechanisms for having something start automatically when you log in. I'll walk through one of the simplest.
Running Windows 7, I'd like Internet Explorer to start automatically when I log in. How do I do that?
As is evidenced by all the malware that does it, making something start when Windows starts or when you login is actually pretty easy.
I'll show you one of the simplest approaches.
The "magic" behind this approach is that there is a special sub-menu item in your All Programs menu called "Startup". Any shortcuts you place in that sub-menu will be run automatically when you login.
Click on the "Start Orb" (so called because they replaced the Windows XP "Start" button with the Windows logo in an orb):
Click on All Programs, and then scroll down until the Startup item becomes visible and right-click on it:
Click on Explore to open a Windows Explorer window on the contents of the Startup sub-menu:
Now, go back to the Start menu and locate the item for Internet Explorer - or whatever program you want to have start automatically. Right-click on the item and select Copy:
Now go back to the window that contains the contents of the Startup sub-menu, right-click in an empty space therein, and click on Paste:
Now you'll see the item in the window:
As well as in the start menu itself:
Now, when you login, Internet Explorer (in this example) will start automatically.
(In case you're wondering why the Windows Explorer window shows only a subset of what actually appears on the actual start menu, it's because I elected to "Explore" rather than "Explore All Users". "Explore" opens a window on the start menu that applies only to the currently logged in user. "Explore All Users" opens a window on the start menu that applies to all users on the machine. When the actual start menu is displayed the two are combined.)
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