Start application in foreground on Windows 2008 reboot

Hi Experts,

I have an application that needs to run in the foreground on a Windows 2008 server 24 x 7. The problem is how to overcome the need to reload the programme when the server reboots itself for some reason (e.g. Windows system updates). It is a hosted server in a datacentre on the Internet and at present we have to run an RDP session and keep it open then keep monitoring it - absolutely the wrong solution. We cannot convert the application to a background process.

We could install a VNC remote control server (like Tight VNC) on the server's Administrator console, connect over the VNC connection, login as a Windows 2008 user and run the application. Then just disconnect the VNC session and the application will continue to run - until the server reboots of course.

One solution would be to have a script with system commands to automatically start a user login session on reboot and load the application into that, but I don't know anything about scripts.

Any help would be greatly appreciated.

Thank you.

SteveFarndon2000Managing DirectorAsked:
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JohnBusiness Consultant (Owner)Commented:
I think you should be able to start the application with Task Scheduler and then in General, set to run whether the user logs on or not.

Best to start as service, but you say this cannot be done.
NVITEnd-user supportCommented:
Combine this method to auto logon w/ John's post:
For an easy way to do this, which also encrypts the creds, use Autologon for Windows by Sysinternals

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What is the application? Usually to start an application in the foreground, a login is require.
Does it matter which user logs in?
Placing a shortcut of the application in the startup folder of the %programdata%\microsoft\windows\start memu\programs\startup
Place the shortcut to the application here. No matter which account logs in, the program will be started.
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Qlemo"Batchelor", Developer and EE Topic AdvisorCommented:
AutoLogon is certainly the way to go, combined with putting a shortcut to the application in the users Startup folder. If anyone else RDPs into the machine, I'm pretty sure the application should not get started.
SteveFarndon2000Managing DirectorAuthor Commented:
Thank you for suggestions so far. It will take time secure some downtime and set up some tests. Thanks again.
SteveFarndon2000Managing DirectorAuthor Commented:
I have a test session running now.

A user called PDFGEN has a shortcut to the application in its Startup folder. I used AutoLogon to configure the server to log in this user automatically on restart as suggested which worked.

I'm trying to anticipate any gotchas that running under the console might throw up. There won't be any keyboard or mouse activity so I've turned off the screen saver to stop any interruption that might cause. I presume that there are power-saving settings like Windows 8 has that turn off the monitor, etc. but I can't find them on this Win 2008 server - any ideas? I just need to ensure that this user's session will stay open until the server restarts.

Thanks again.
A server does not sleep, screen saver/session lock will not stop the application from continuing to run.
SteveFarndon2000Managing DirectorAuthor Commented:
The test configuration has worked fine.
AutoLogon by Sysinternals was the key component - it worked first time and was very easy to use. Using the Startup programme group was useful.
Thanks to all Experts.
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Windows Server 2008

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