Possible to start programs before Windows logs in?

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Elliot B.

I have a 'server', which is basically a Windows 10 PC.


Apart from the power button, it's in a hard-to-use place.


On the PC, I run Plex Media Server, Google Backup & Sync (for photos) etc.


I turn it on each morning and, using TeamViewer, turn it off most nights. This means I don't have to use the monitor, keyboard etc.


At the moment, when I turn the system on, it just boots into a Windows account. There's no password set.


However, if the computer was ever stolen, they'd have easy access to my photos etc.


Ideally, I would want to set a password for the user account.


However, when I tried this, Plex Media Server (as one example) doesn't start until I enter the Windows password.


Is it possible to start programs, such as Plex Media Server, before Windows even logs in?

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Putting a password on the account isn't going to do much, the drive could just be removed and ownership taken of the folders, all of your data is wide open.


The only thing that could help you is something like BitLocker.

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The easy answer would be run Plex as a service, however I don't believe that works at the moment. You could use the auto logon/lock method. Its has been a while since I looked into this, but you ensure plex is set to run at login, either use gpo or registry editor to allow auto-login, create a batch that will lock the computer after login.


I had a friend want to do something similar a few years ago, but it was more hassle than anything honestly. if someone steals your computer, unless you are using a drive encryption as xendrome pointed out, they have access to your files. You also mentioned this tower is hard to get to, unless someone is ransacking your home and trying to steal everything, I doubt they get to this tower.

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  • 1 month later...
Joe User

I needed to do something like this on Windows Home Server a few years ago.  Originally, I would have a local account login and then lock the screen as soon as login was completed. I wasn't very happy with this setup, because there was a period of time where there was a local login on the console of the server and if someone wanted to, they could reboot the server and break out of the batch file if they were quick.


So, I came up with this solution, it should work on Windows 10 Pro. On startup, I used the task scheduler to make the local system call an RDP file. The RDP file would create a connection to the local server, which would run my applications on login. Since it was RDP, it would not run on the console and I could always connect to that RDP session remotely if I wanted to, as long as I remembered to not logout, and instead just close the connection there wouldn't be any problems.


You might need to Google on how to add passwords to RDP. I also recommend using encryption, like Bitlocker or EFS.


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You really should do the math on how much you actually save doing this... Its not as much as you think ;)  It's almost for sure not worth the hassle.


Even using 16p as cost in the UK, which is higher than anything I see there... And if you only run the PC for 12 hours vs 24.. Your saving like 40 quid over the whole year...  And are you really only running it for 12 hours?  Or is more like 16 hours, if you turn it on when you get up and then turn it off when you go to bed... So now your talking maybe 30 quid for the whole year... Dealing with turn it off and on every day..


I really don't see how this makes any sense to do...

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