How to add a program to autorun in Server 2019 Core

Started by Peter

I am trying to use the autorun feature in RAM Disk on my Windows Server 2019 core installation. I have a small exe file that I run from a persistent RAM disk. I would like to start it automatically instead of manually.

I have tried to use the Tools/Application menu in RAM Disk but the Add button does not pop up any navigation window, to enable me to input the exe filepath. How can I enable this feature?

Please note that I can't use the usual Windows method, as I am using a custom shell to start another program at startup and, if I add my RAMdisk-stored exe to the custom shell, it will not open it. The batch file that I created for this works when run manually, but not automatically, hence me wanting to use the feature in RAM Disk. Thank you for your earliest response.

Best regards,
SoftPerfect Support forum - Ann avatar image

Re: How to add a program to autorun in Server 2019 Core   07 July 2020, 13:46

The Add button is supposed to open the standard file selection dialog. I guess it's not available in Windows Server core.

Even if the Add button did work, it is likely that your file will not be launched. As you mentioned, you are using a custom shell, which means the RAM Disk GUI may not be launched by Windows and consequentially none of the configured applications will be launched.

I would probably recommend using Windows Scheduler to launch your EXE file on boot or on logon.
Thank you for your reply. The Add button behaves just like the browse button when searching for the path to the img file that I create when setting up my RAM disks. It doesn't pop up either - never has - but there is a box where I can paste in the path and that works fine. Perhaps, you could add something similar to get around the Add button not working?

For your information, there is no issue with RAM Disk being launched by Windows. I created my custom shell four years ago and it has always performed perfectly with my persistent RAM Disks being available. The custom shell is used to automatically launch a piece of software that I need to use. Unfortunately, a new version of that software has just been released and it has broken its own auto-start ability, which I have always used to open my exe file. I have reported this to the developer but do not have a solution, as yet. Consequently, I was trying to find an alternative to automatically start the exe in one of my persistent RAM disks. That is why I tried to use your autorun feature.

Windows startup folder solution and batch files don't work, although batch files do, when manually opened. As the PC is headless and remote, remoting in and manually opening the exe, or double clicking the batch file kind of defeats the purpose. I would use Task Scheduler, but it is not available to me in core mode. If I use cmd to open the scheduler, it says that it doesn't exist. Is there any way you can help, or do I have to resign myself to remoting in and manually opening the exe every time?
SoftPerfect Support forum - Ann avatar image

Re: How to add a program to autorun in Server 2019 Core   07 July 2020, 14:27

The reason your RAM disks were created is probably that you created a boot-time RAM Disk. This type of disk is created by the system driver, whether the GUI is launched or not. User applications are however launched by the GUI, which itself is started at logon by a registry entry in HKLM\Software\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Run.

I am not sure whether Windows Server core processes this key. If it does, you can simply add your custom EXE there. If it does not, then RAM Disk GUI will not start and will not able to launch any additional applications.

As far as I know, the console version of Task Scheduler is available in core. Try typing "schtasks" in the command prompt.
Thank you for your reply and all the suggestions contained therein. I tried each one of them, including writing task scripts, and ensuring that RAM Disk GUI was running but all to no avail. I am sorry that I appear to have wasted your time. I was trying to find another way around the problem created by that updated and faulty software. Sadly, it appears that I will have to wait until its developer finds a solution - all his previous suggestions having failed. Thank you anyway for trying to help.

One last comment to make is that, as I had suggested earlier, it would be good if you could provide a box that would make it possible to paste the program path into (as an alternative to the add button, which doesn’t work), so that users of Server Core can use your autorun feature as intended.

Thank you again for trying to help. Keep safe and stay healthy.

Best regards.
SoftPerfect Support forum - Ann avatar image

Re: How to add a program to autorun in Server 2019 Core   10 July 2020, 12:47

Thank you, we'll test it once again with Windows Core and perhaps add a way to enter file names directly.

In the meantime, you can simply add an application to be launched directly in the config file. For that, open C:\ProgramData\SoftPerfect\RAM Disk\ramdisk.xml and replace the autorun section with something like this:
Please make sure the RAM Disk GUI isn't running when editing the file, as otherwise the file may be overwritten.

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