Tech Tip: Put applications in the NT system tray on startup

Find out how to check your CPU by adding the Task Manager to your system tray.

Occasionally, you may want to check how the CPU is performing on your system with just a glance. A simple way to add this functionality is to add the Task Manager to your system tray.

First, place a shortcut to the Taskmgr.exe file in your Startup folder. Then, edit the shortcut's properties to set it up to run minimized.

Now, whenever you log on, the Task Manager will be waiting in the system tray. (Don't forget that the Task Manager uses some system resources itself.)

In addition to the Task Manager, you may want to configure another application to run minimized on your system tray on startup. Instead of adding a shortcut to the startup group, you can set this up via the registry.

Add an REG_SZ value to the following registry key:


The name of the value doesn't really matter, but make it something descriptive that you'll readily understand. Set the string of the value to "Start /min x:\path to app," where x is the drive letter where the app is stored.

For example, if you want to make the Task Manager run minimized on startup and don't want to add the shortcut to the startup group, you could apply the following change to the registry:


"TaskManager"="start /min c:\winnt\system32\taskmgr.exe"

If you would rather not edit the registry, try this: Go to the appropriate .exe file, and create a shortcut to it in C:\WINNT\Profiles\username\Start Menu\Programs\Startup. Right-click the shortcut, and select Properties. On the Shortcut tab, select Minimized from the Run drop-down list. Reboot your system, and it should start with that application minimized on the taskbar.

Note: Editing the registry is risky, so be sure you have a verified backup before saving any changes.

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