I'm on Windows 10, and want the windows of my startup programs to be minimized (as in the opposite of maximized). I would like gratis (free of charge) software.

  • If you need this feature working for just any program, but you cannot find free utility doing this, maybe you can try/buy "4t Tray Minimizer" (Pro). I can see feature "Auto-minimize an application to the system tray at startup" present at its feature list.
    – miroxlav
    Mar 2, 2016 at 10:07

2 Answers 2


Right click the icon of the programs in the startup folder, choose Properties. Change the value of Run on the tab Shortcut to Minimized.

  • Tried this, no joy unfortunately. Nov 18, 2015 at 14:56
  • Which programs are we talking about here? Have you checked the settings of the programs itself? A lot of programs (like torrent clients) have built-in minimize-at-startup functions. Other programs have a command line parameter to start minimized. Try adding /minimized at the end of the Target field.
    – Teebs
    Nov 18, 2015 at 15:30
  • I'm trying to do this with Jdownloader 2. I tried changing the target field, but every way i did it wasn't accepted as valid, Nov 18, 2015 at 16:10
  • Jdownloader indeed doesn't have this option, but there's a free addon, just for that. You can download it here
    – Teebs
    Nov 19, 2015 at 8:10
  • Jdownloader 2 (no add-on's yet) actually has a tray icon setting with a start minimized option. Problem solved! Nov 19, 2015 at 9:23

Windows already has this functionality (more or less)

It's a matter of if your programs respect that.

Standard Win32 software and no intermediate launcher

Notepad is a standard executable. It will abide by this setting. Right click the icon of the programs in the startup folder, choose Properties. Change the value of Run on the tab Shortcut to Minimized.

Windows Registry

If your program is not executed by means of the startup folder in the start menu, you can still replicate the above "start minimized" setting by substituting the file path (C:\myprogram.exe) with something like this:CMD.EXE /c start /min "" "C:\Windows\notepad.exe"

Standard software with external launchers

Many programs are not directly executed. Instead an intermediate program, a launcher, is set as the target of shortcuts. This is to allow tasks to be executed just before running the actual application. For example this is the case of Chromium-based browser (such as Goggle Chrome, Opera, etc), where the launcher checks for updates, installs them and runs the most recent version afterwards. As a consequence only the launcher would be minimized if you set it to run minimized, leaving the program with a normal window.

If the laucher is not really important (maybe if updates can be checked also by the program itself) you could directly set the actual program's executable file as the startup entry for that program. If that is not the case you can try the other methods below.

Software built with customized GUI/frameworks/Technologies

These programs will probably ignore the above settings.

Strangely enough, Windows 10 Calculator is implemented as a "modern" App, so other than having an increased startup time because of this (FFS, a calculator has to load fast!) it will ignore the minimization setting.

You now have two possibilities.

Built-in functionality

If the developer was wise or the program is mature enough, you will probably find an option within the application itself, that minimizes it on start.

Often such options are not directly available to the user, as they may have been implemented as command line parameters.

External tool-based workaround

If everything failed until now, you may want to try a more drastic and unelegant solution: use a (gratis) scripting tool like AutoIt or AutoHotKey to launch the program, wait for the main window to show and then minimize it using their functions. I'm sure there are a lot of examples on the respective forums.

Also nircmd's documentation says it does support minimizing windows by process like this: nircmd win min process firefox.exe. But I wasn't able to get it to minimize my firefox or notepad while on windows 10.

I think I answered in Superuser style. I'm sure there are some programs or script to automate this (at least the "start minimized" flag).

  • Nice answer! Now if only software were written as it should...........
    – Alejandro
    Feb 6, 2017 at 17:34
  • Thanks. Often UI consistency in cross-platform is one of the last concerns of programmers...
    – beppe9000
    Feb 6, 2017 at 17:51

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