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How to run applications on Windows Server startup with GPO

Hello! Windows Server offers multiple configuration options. Indeed, these features allow improving the productivity of the company. Specifically, today we will see how to schedule the automatic start of applications. To do this, we will use group policy or GPO. This function is very important since it is likely that users will always need to use certain applications. Consequently, by automating this process, then valuable time is saved. Because when you log in to the server, these programs run automatically without user intervention. However, it is convenient to segment the programs according to the area of work. Since the needs of each group may vary according to their functionality. So, let’s see how to run applications on Windows Server startup with GPO.

How to configure applications to start automatically using GPO.

As mentioned, we will be using the Group Policy Manager. With this intention, press the Win+R combination and execute the following command:

Open the group policy editor.
Open the group policy manager.

The Group Policy Manager will be deployed immediately. Please display the domain in the corresponding section. Please note, this action will apply the policy to the entire domain. However, for group-specific apps in particular, then you must select the organizational unit. Then, select the users and the policy applies there.

Group Policy Manager
Group Policy Manager
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Then, right click on Default Domain Policy. Then select Edit.

Please edit the group policies
Please edit the group policies

Then follow the next path:

  • Computer Configuration
  • Policies
  • Administrative Templates
  • System
  • Logon

Once there, please double-click on Run the programs at user logon.

Please edit the policy.
Please edit the policy.

As you can see, the policy is disabled by default. In the first place, click on Enabled. This will enable the Show button. Please click on it.

Please Enable Policy
Please Enable Policy

In the next window, you must enter the executables of each program. In addition, you can enter not only your own Windows programs but also corporate applications from third parties.

Apps selected to run at startup
Apps selected to run at startup

Back to the previous screen, just press OK to set the changes. And that’s it! From now on, every time you start the server, the previously selected apps will be executed. In addition, you can use the gpupdate /force command to force policy updates.


In this simple way, we have seen how to run applications on Windows Server startup with GPO. Therefore, we hope to improve the productivity of the administrators. In addition, this allows us to automate changes and save valuable time. All right, that’s it for now. Before I go, I invite you to join our group at Telegram. Bye!

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