Enable Zettelstore to start automatically on Windows

Windows is a complicated beast. There are several ways to automatically start Zettelstore.

Startup folder

One way is to use the autostart folder. Open the folder where you have placed in the Explorer. Create a shortcut file for the Zettelstore executable. There are some ways to do this:

If you have created the shortcut file, you must move it into the Startup folder. Press the Windows logo key and the key R, type shell:startup. Select the OK button. This will open the Startup folder. Move the shortcut file into this folder.

The next time you log into your computer, Zettelstore will be started automatically. However, it remains visible, at least in the task bar.

You can modify the behavior by changing some properties of the shortcut file.

Task scheduler

The Windows Task scheduler allows you to start Zettelstore as an background task.

This is both an advantage and a disadvantage.

On the plus side, Zettelstore runs in the background, and it does not disturbs you. All you have to do is to open your web browser, enter the appropriate URL, and there you go.

On the negative side, you will not be notified when you enter the wrong data in the Task scheduler and Zettelstore fails to start. This can be mitigated by first using the command line prompt to start Zettelstore with the appropriate options. Once everything works, you can register Zettelstore to be automatically started by the task scheduler. There you should make sure that you have followed the first steps as described on the parent page.

To start the Task scheduler management console, press the Windows logo key and the key R, type taskschd.msc. Select the OK button.

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This will start the “Task Scheduler”.

Now, create a new task with “Create Task ...”

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Enter a name for the task, e.g. “Zettelstore” and select the options “Run whether user is logged in or not” and “Do not store password.”

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Create a new trigger.

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Select the option “At startup”.

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Create a new action.

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The next steps are the trickiest.

If you did not created a startup configuration file, then create an action that starts a program. Enter the file path where you placed the Zettelstore executable. The “Browse ...” button helps you with that.1

It is essential that you also enter a directory, which serves as the environment for your zettelstore. The (sub-) directory zettel, which will contain your zettel, will be placed in this directory. If you leave the field “Start in (optional)” empty, the directory will be an internal Windows system directory (most likely: C:\Windows\System32).

If you press the OK button, the “Create Task” tab shows up as on the right image.

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If you have created a startup configuration file, you must enter something into the field “Add arguments (optional)”. Unfortunately, the text box is too narrow to fully see its content.

I have entered the string run -c "C:\Users\Detlef Stern\bin\zsconfig.txt", because my startup configuration file has the name zsconfig.txt and I placed it into the same folder that also contains the Zettelstore executable. Maybe you have to adapt to this.

You must also enter appropriate data for the other form fields. If you press the OK button, the “Create Task” tab shows up as on the right image.

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You should disable any additional conditions, since you typically want to use Zettelstore unconditionally. Especially, make sure that “Start the task only if the computer is on AC power” is disabled. Otherwise Zettelstore will not start if you run on battery power.

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On the “Settings” tab, you should disable the option “Stop the task if it runs longer than:”.

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After entering the data, press the OK button. Under some circumstances, Windows asks for permission and you have to enter your password.

As the last step, you could run the freshly created task manually.

Open your browser, enter the appropriate URL and use your Zettelstore. In case of errors, the task will most likely stop immediately. Make sure that all data you have entered is valid. To not forget to check the content of the startup configuration file. Use the command prompt to debug your configuration.

Sometimes, for example when your computer was in stand-by and it wakes up, these tasks are not started. In this case execute the task scheduler and run the task manually.

  1. I store my Zettelstore executable in the sub-directory bin of my home directory. ↩︎