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.
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.
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.
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).