How to start Windows program minimized

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Some Windows programs don’t need to open their program windows at all on launch. This is for instance the case when they run in the background or if you don’t use the interface at all to interact with them or need to access information they display in it.

A prime example is the screenshot taking tool SnagIt which I run minimized on start as I control its functionality solely through keyboard shortcuts.

You may run other programs regularly that you don’t need to interact with directly on start, for instance an email client, a backup program that runs automated tasks or a file transfer client.

The following tip works in all recent and not-so recent versions of the Windows operating system.

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Veteran Windows users know all about it probably but if you are new or have never looked it up, it may be useful to you as you can control how programs start on your system.

Good news is that you don’t need to download and run third-party software for it as the functionality is baked in.

Control program window states in Windows on start

windows program window minimized

Here is what you need to do:

  1. First thing you need to know is that the following works with shortcuts only. This means that it works on all program shortcuts in the Start Menu, Windows Taskbar and desktop. You can right-click on any executable file in Windows to create a new shortcut for it.
  2. Right-click the shortcut, for instance on the Windows Taskbar, and select properties from the context menu that opens up. Depending on the version of Windows that you are using, you may right-click again on the program name instead before properties appears in the context menu.
  3. The Shortcut tab of the program’s properties window highlights the window state under run. A click on the menu there enables you to set it to “normal window”, “minimized” or “maximized”.
  4. Select minimized from the selection and click on ok afterwards.

I suggest you test the change right away to make sure that it is indeed running in minimized state when you execute it.

You may revert the change at any time by following the instructions again and changing the state of the run preference to “normal window” which is the default window state.

Tip: If you need more control over a program, you may want to check out the excellent AdvancedRun by Nirsoft. It allows you to change the window state on launch but also window position and size among many, many other things.


Article Name

How to start Windows program minimized


Martin Brinkmann


Find out how to run any Window program in minimized state on start so that its window is not displayed on the screen when you execute it,

About Martin Brinkmann

Martin Brinkmann is a journalist from Germany who founded Ghacks Technology News Back in 2005. He is passionate about all things tech and knows the Internet and computers like the back of his hand. You can follow Martin on Facebook, Twitter or Google+

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