Task Manager Startup tab Empty – No startup items to display

When you open Task Manager and click on the Startup tab, it may show up empty. You may see a message that reads “There are no startup items to display”.

This issue may happen even though you have many startup entries in the Run registry keys.

task manager startup tab empty - no startup items


The Task Manager Startup tab may show the message “There are no startup items to display” if the Startup folder or the Common Startup folder has been deleted from your computer. This may be the minor side-effect of deleting empty folders en masse using a third-party program or script.

When you run the “shell:startup” or “shell:common startupshell command to launch the startup folder, the following error(s) appear:

Windows cannot find 'shell:startup'. Make sure you typed the name correctly, and then try again.
Windows cannot find 'shell:common startup'. Make sure you typed the name correctly, and then try again.


To resolve the issue, recreate the Startup folders manually.

Open the following folder in File Explorer:

C:\ProgramData\Microsoft\Windows\Start Menu\Programs

Create a subfolder named “Startup” (if it doesn’t already exist)

Repeat the same in the following location:

C:\Users\%username%\AppData\Roaming\Microsoft\Windows\Start Menu\Programs

Using Command Prompt

Alternately, you can accomplish this easily using Command Prompt.

Open an admin Command Prompt window and run these two commands:

md "%ProgramData%\Microsoft\Windows\Start Menu\Programs\Startup"

md "%AppData%\Microsoft\Windows\Start Menu\Programs\Startup"

(Ignore the message “already exists” if it appears for one of the above commands.)

That’s it. Task Manager should now list your startup entries correctly.

Still doesn’t work?

If that doesn’t help, you’ll need to fix the Startup folder path in the User Shell Folders registry key. For detailed information, check out the section “The Startup shell folder location is incorrect” in the article [Fix] Programs in the Startup Folder not Starting.

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Ramesh Srinivasan is passionate about Microsoft technologies and he has been a consecutive ten-time recipient of the Microsoft Most Valuable Professional award in the Windows Shell/Desktop Experience category, from 2003 to 2012. He loves to troubleshoot and write about Windows. Ramesh founded Winhelponline.com in 2005.

5 thoughts on “Task Manager Startup tab Empty – No startup items to display”

  1. still no luck, followed also the [Fix] Programs in the Startup Folder not Starting, no success
    the folders are there, the registry is pointing properly, but task manager still shows nothing

  2. Thank you, sir. went through your process and seen one of the folders was missing.
    Good article and straight to the point
    cheers lad


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