How to Run Modern UI Apps on Windows 8 Startup

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Modern UI apps do not have a setting that would allow you to run them automatically on Windows 8 startup like traditional desktop apps.¬†Microsoft want users to launch apps only from the Start screen, because of this there’s no easy way to create desktop shortcuts for them as well. However, there’s are trick ways to do this.

Certain apps, especially the built-in ones, have their own URL protocol to open its supported files, something similar to http:// or mailto:. Using these names, we can create desktop shortcuts for those apps and also make them run on Windows startup. You will find those names at this location in Windows Registry : HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Classes\[app-name].
Windows 8 app protocol name

Once you have an app’s URL Protocol name, simply right-click on your desktop and create a new shortcut using the following format:

%windir%\System32\cmd.exe /c start "" "App's URL Protocol name]:"

Example, for Messaging app:

%windir%\System32\cmd.exe /c start "" "mschat:"

You can launch the app using the new desktop shortcut. Furthermore, if you want, you can customize the shortcut’s icon and even assign a shortcut key by going to its properties.

Now, to automatically start the app on Windows 8 startup, open the startup folder by typing in this command in the Run dialog box: shell:startup. When the folder opens, move the app shortcut in it. And you’re done!

Here’s a list of names for other built-in Windows 8 apps:

  • Bing search app: bingsearch:
  • Finance app: bingfinance:
  • Maps app: bingmaps:
  • News app: bingnews:
  • Sports app: bingsports:
  • Travel app: bingtravel:
  • Weather app: bingweather:
  • Music app: microsoftmusic:
  • Video app: microsoftvideo:
  • Calendar app: wlcalendar:
  • People app: wlpeople:
  • Games app: xboxgames:
  • Messaging app: mschat:
  • Store app: ms-windows-store:

I was able to find the URL Protocol value for installed apps like Skitch (skitch:) and Evernote (evernote:) too, but that was it. No other apps I have installed has that value. Hopefully, you will find your desired app’s URL Protocol name. Good luck!