How do you tell Windows to run a command on each system startup?

I have a large number of servers on which I will need to run a command on system startup that makes a non-persistent configuration change.

I can run the command either:

  • as an executable with multiple parameters
  • as a batch file that calls above executable with appropriate parameters

How do I instruct Windows to run my command on every boot, without any sort of login?

related: https://stackoverflow.com/q/5899978/93180

3 Answers 3


Define a startup script with your desired BAT file. Do this either via Local Computer Policy (for standalone machines) or via GPO (if in a domain.)

  • How do I programmatically merge my changes into the computer policy? Do I just create a new key under HKLM\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Group Policy\State\Machine\Scripts\Startup and put the appropriate entries there?
    – MikeyB
    May 4, 2011 at 19:15
  • 1
    You're generally not supposed to manually touch anything in GPOs, AFAIK. And scripting options for making specific changes to GPOs are fairly lacking, from what I recall. You can export, import, create/delete, and link GPOs from scripts, but I don't think you can make specific changes to specific GPOs (easily.) Anyway, that's a different question, and one probably better suited to StackOverflow.
    – mfinni
    May 4, 2011 at 19:31
  • Yeah, writing up my question now. I'll need to add an entry to the GPO as part of an installer.
    – MikeyB
    May 4, 2011 at 19:37
  • Actually, now that I know what to look for: nsis.sourceforge.net/LGP_Startup/Shutdown_Script
    – MikeyB
    May 4, 2011 at 19:45

If you need to set the startup script programatically, you can use Scheduled Tasks:

schtasks.exe /create /tn "Task Name" /ru SYSTEM /Sc ONSTART /tr

To run the task with elevated permissions (Vista and later), add the parameter /RL HIGHEST

  • 4
    Much nicer (and simpler to do) solution!! You can also use the Task Scheduler GUI if you prefer.
    – Jaans
    Jan 6, 2015 at 4:25

Use Group Policy to run a Computer Startup script - this will run when the machine starts up without needing someone to login

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