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We have a program on our primary server that runs for some of our legacy machines. It's basically a customized time server so that old machines on the shop floor can keep accurate time (they are used for shop employees to clock in and out, among other things). Unfortunately, the program has no way to run in the background, which means the local console must be logged in at all times in order to keep this running. I'd like to eliminate the need for that, and make it start up at boot time. Currently, if the system goes down, I have to rush in and log in the local console so that the time server starts up.

Is there a way to make a process start at boot time, even before the local console is logged in? It's a simple program, runs in CLI fine, and no GUI or anything like that.

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up vote 2 down vote accepted

What's wrong with srvany? It was made for exactly this kind of thing. i.e. Make a program run as a service.

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Not the cleanest method, but this can be accomplished by enabling AutoAdminLogon and setting a shortcut in Startup to run the app in the CLI.

Or, you can run it in the background as a service using SrvAny, but you won't get any CLI display feedback. This won't work if the app ever requires keyboard input.

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As convenient as it is, I'm hesitant to do anything that stores the password in plaintext. Especially since we use a domain admin account to run this program. Thanks though. – phuzion Jul 2 '09 at 13:29
You could modify registry key permissions to limit read access to only SYSTEM. Not perfect, but would require more than just local admin access to get around it. – spoulson Jul 2 '09 at 13:31

How about a user defined service:

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Had a need for this a couple years back, and I think this is the same link.

It basically encapsulates your app into a service wrapper, so it'll just start automatically on boot, no need to log in. Of course, I didn't have the info at the the time that MathewC listed - I think I'd prefer using the resource kit.

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Yan can try NTwrapper.

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It's possible to set up a Task Scheduler job to run at boot. No login is required in this case.

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I asked almost this same question a few weeks back and got a FANTASTIC answer. I can report that it works great and will work for your situation too.

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