How to Start Multiple Windows Programs in a Batch

Mihir Patkar 26-01-2015

You often open certain programs, files and folders to perform a task, like launching Chrome, a Pomodoro timer, Irfanview and Microsoft Word to start your work day. Wouldn’t it be easier to do that with just one click?


If your programs and files often change, then you can look at an app like MadAppLauncher to assign hotkeys to different programs Launch Applications, Files & Folders Faster with MadAppLauncher [Windows] Most application launchers work the same way - open the launcher, type in the application's name, and hit Enter to launch the item. There are many launchers available out there using this method. But if... Read More . It’s quick, but you’ll have to remember all those keyboard shortcuts, not to mention it’ll take more time.

To launch programs in a batch, you have plenty of other options.

Create Your Own Shortcut To Launch Programs In A Batch


You don’t always need third-party programs to start multiple software in a single click. All you actually need is the humble, built-in Windows Notepad. You could also use the powerful NotePad++ 3 Handy Built-In Notepad++ Features For Beginners [Windows] This summer, I’ve used Notepad++ for my internship quite a bit, so I can see why almost all developers and programmers I know actually prefer it, not to mention, the thousand of Notepad++ fans that... Read More , but Notepad does the job just fine.

For example’s sake, let’s say you want to launch Chrome and a spreadsheet called Invoices in MS Excel.


Start a new Notepad file and type this:

@echo off

cd “C:\Program Files\Google\Chrome\Application\”

start chrome.exe

start – “C:\Program Files\Microsoft Office\Office14\EXCEL.EXE” “C:\Users\Home\Desktop\Invoices.xlsx”


All you have to do is save this Notepad file as “launch.bat” (not .txt) and you’re good to go. It’s much simpler than it sounds. You’ll need to know how to find the target location of any program or folder, and you can even add a custom icon. For details, check out our step-by-step guide to create a batch launcher in Windows Launch Multiple Programs From a Single Shortcut Using a Batch File Do you always launch a specific set of applications? What if you could launch them with a single click? It only takes a minute to set up and will save you so much time! Read More .

To launch it with a keyboard stroke, pair it with AutoHotKey or others like HotKeyP to >make custom hotkeys for anything.

If you want to kill any program in the same BAT file, like Firefox, the command is:


taskkill /im firefox.exe

Use Jump Lists And Preview With 7APL


If you can’t be bothered to create your own notepad file, 7APL will do the heavy lifting for you. As a bonus, it throws in some neat features like hotkey launches and a smart use of jump lists, which does more than just pinning your favourite folders for quick launches 3 Easy Ways to Improve the Windows 7 Explorer Windows Explorer is the file manager application that handles the Windows desktop and taskbar and lets you access your files. Without its nice graphical interface, controlling your computer would be a lot more complicated. It's... Read More .

7APL is a portable app, which makes your life easier and saves resources How Portable Apps Can Make Your Life Easier & Save Resources If you frequently switch computers and have cloud storage space or USB drives to spare, here's an idea: outsource your applications. Read More . Create a new profile and add programs or files by browsing to their icon. Set a hotkey for the profile (using modifiers like Ctrl, Alt and Shift) and save your changes. You can also add some programs as exceptions to any of these rules.

If 7APL is running, you can hover over its icon in the taskbar and interact with the thumbnail preview to launch a profile or browse between options. Unlike most batch launchers though, 7APL doesn’t need to be open to start using it. Right-click the icon and in the jump list, you will see all your profiles. Click to execute!


Splat Starts Programs, Kills Programs, Delays Launches


Of all the batch launchers, Splat is the most powerful tool. You’ll need to keep it running in your system tray, but the sheer customization it offers is worth it.

Once you create a new profile, you can start adding what to do with programs when the profile is executed. For any program, file or folder, you can choose to:

  • Run (if not running)
  • Run (even if running)
  • Close Application
  • Kill Application
  • Start/Stop Service
  • Wait/Delay

The first four are self-explanatory. Closing an application is a great idea to manage your PC’s performance 8 Ways to Free Up RAM on Your Windows Computer Here's how to free up RAM on your Windows PC so you can find out what's using memory and put your resources to better use. Read More , not to mention focusing on the task at hand to eliminate distractions.


Stopping non-essential Windows Services can be a good way to speed up Windows Speeding Up Windows 7: Everything You Need to Know Read More . But please know what a service does before you choose to stop it.

The Wait/Delay option can be used with regular time intervals or set by your CPU’s load, choosing to wait till it’s below a certain percentage before launching the program.

Again, you can assign hotkeys to any profile, and there are a lot more modifiers and keys you can use here than in 7APL.

What Else Do You Want To Do In One Click?

Programs and files are now taken care of, but what other actions do you want to perform with a hotkey or a single click?

Image Credits: Finger-Hand Via Shutterstock

Related topics: Batch File, Computer Automation, Windows App Launcher.

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  1. Arun Kumar
    February 9, 2015 at 9:29 am

    Hey Mihir, Thanks for this article.
    I made a batch file to run
    ::Google Drive
    ::Microsoft one drive
    ::Apple software update
    :: some - anti-virus software

    I want that, this batch file should get launched automatically when computer is idle for 2 min and as soon as user resumes computer using keyboard or mouse, all these program should get self terminate gracefully. Thus not overloading my computer.

    How do I achieve this?

    • Mihir Patkar
      February 11, 2015 at 5:16 pm

      Hmmm, I don't know of a way to start a program or get it to run when the computer resumes from Idle state. That's the key here, the rest is easy. I'll look into it, hopefully one of the other readers can give us a solution :)

  2. Doc
    January 27, 2015 at 12:00 am

    Geez. It's been years since I had to write a batch file for anything...and then it was for system backups.
    Nowadays I use FreeLaunchBar (low memory requirements) or RocketDock (with the Stacks Docklet) as my quick program launchers.

    • Mihir Patkar
      January 27, 2015 at 5:56 am

      The batch file is the perfect example of "an oldie but a goodie" :D

  3. Darryl
    January 26, 2015 at 6:51 pm

    How about a batch file that will open a list of documents that are listed in a text file? For example, I have a text file named c:list.txt. The list.txt file contains a list of other files. I want a single-click option that will read that list.txt file and then open all of the files that are listed in that file. Possible? Thanks!

    • Mihir Patkar
      January 27, 2015 at 5:55 am

      I don't think so. You'll need to create a BAT that points to each file in your list individually, along with the right program to open it.

      If there's a simpler way of doing that, I'm sure someone here will tell us. But you could always just load up your list in Splat (listed above) and do it faster.

    • Tina Sieber
      February 11, 2015 at 7:02 pm

      Darryl, have you found a way to do what you were asking for? Did you end up using Splat or can you recommend another tool?

    • Darryl
      February 11, 2015 at 10:12 pm

      Sorry, Tina, I didn't get far into Splat, but I don't think it will do what I wanted. I'm sure someone with good scripting skills could figure it out but that would not be me!