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Chapter 4.  Configuring the Windows 2000... > Change the location of the Startup f...

4.3. Change the location of the Startup folders

The Startup folders (one for all users and one for the currently logged on user) are defined by settings in the registry. The Startup folder that applies to all users is located in \ Documents and Settings\ All Users\ Start Menu\ Programs\ Startup. The current user's Startup folder is located in \ Documents and Settings\ user\ Start Menu\ Programs\ Startup, where user is the user's logon name.

The Startup folders are located in systemroot\ Profiles\ user\ Start Menu\ Programs\ Startup if you upgraded from Windows NT.


You can change the location of the Startup folders if desired. For example, you might want to point the Startup folder for all users to a folder on a network server so all users have the same set of startup applications. Or you might need to move the Startup folder to a disk with more space. In either case, moving the Startup folder is simply a matter of changing the registry entry that defines it.

4.3.1. Edit the registry

You modify the location of the Startup folders by editing the appropriate value in the registry. In the case of the individual user Startup folder, the existing registry entry is userprofile\Start Menu\Programs\Startup. The replaceable variable userprofile points to the current user profile and describes the Startup folder in the context of the current user. In effect, userprofile points to the \ Documents and Settings\ user folder. You can modify the part of the string after the variable to place the Startup folder at a different location within the \ Documents and Settings\ user folder or replace the entire string to specify an absolute path.

The existing registry entry for the common Startup folder is allusersprofile\Start Menu\Programs\Startup. The allusersprofile variable points to the \ Documents and Settings\ All Users folder. You can modify the value of HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Explorer\User Shell Folders\Common Startup if you want all users to have different common Startup folders.

Follow these steps to change the location of the Startup folder(s):

  1. Choose Start Run, enter regedit, and click OK to start the Registry Editor.

  2. Open the key HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Explorer\User Shell Folders for the common Startup folder or HKEY_CURRENT_USER\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Explorer\User Shell Folders for the individual user's Startup folder.

  3. Choose Registry Export Registry File if you want to make a backup copy of the key in case you experience problems after editing it. Export the selected branch to a file of your choosing.

  4. Double-click the value Common Startup (for the common folder) or Startup (for the user folder) to open the Edit String dialog box.

  5. Change the path specified in the string to point to the desired folder and click OK.

  6. Close the Registry Editor.

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