Monday, February 23, 2009

Start Multiple Programs With One Shortcut

In the past we’ve shown you how to create batch files for synchronizing two folders, and today we’re going to demonstrate how they can be used to launch your favorite applications. If you’re like me you probably start the same applications every morning, such as your feed reader, web browser, and your calendar. If that’s the case then you’ll be in love with what I’m about to show you. In under a minute you can create a batch file to launch several applications, documents, files, and more in a single click.

What some people don’t realize is that you can also use this method to reduce the startup time of your computer! It’s likely that you have at least a handful of applications that startup with Windows which you don’t need immediately. Things like an instant messenger or email checker. You can place all of those applications into a single batch file, remove them from the startup list, and then just run them when you’re ready.

Update: Be sure to checkout how you can use a batch file to close multiple programs as well.

You may think that doing something like this is a tedious process, but it’s actually rather easy:


  1. Open Notepad (Start Menu -> Accessories -> Notepad):

  2. Get the paths for the programs you want to start. The easiest way to do this is to right-click on each of the existing shortcuts, choose the Properties option, and then copy the Target path.

  3. Enter the paths for each of the programs into Notepad, one per line. Be sure to put

    start ""

    at the beginning of each line, and put a space after it to separate it from the application path. If the path of your application has a space in it, you’ll need to surround the entire path with quotes. It should look something like this:

  4. Save it as a .BAT file by manually entering in the extension at the end of the file name.

  5. Double-click on the new file that you just created to test out the results.


There are all kinds of things that this can be used for, especially since you can throw parameters onto each of the applications. Let’s say you wanted to open our website in Firefox, one of the lines would look like this:

start "" "C:\Program Files\Mozilla Firefox\firefox.exe" ""

You can also have it open a document by providing the path to it, like this:

start "" "C:\Users\Wagner\Documents\CyberNet.doc"

In the end you can create several different batch files each for different tasks. Batch files are powerful tools that can greatly enhance your productivity, and this is one of the ways they do that.

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