Run a program hidden in Windows 10

Do you know that you can start an application hidden in Windows? Sometimes you need to because some apps can run in the background doing their task without interrupting your workflow. You might want to run an app hidden from a batch script, let it do its work and not show any window. In this article, we will see all ways to run a program hidden in Windows 10.

Windows 10 run hidden banner There are several ways to start an application hidden in Windows 10. It can be done without third party tools and with the help of some useful third party tools. Here are the easiest ways to do it.

In the article, we will hide Notepad as an example. You can use the same method to hide any other app you want.

Method 1. Using VBScript

This is the old and "traditional" way to start apps hidden. It works in every Windows version where VBScript is available. All modern Windows versions have VBScript support.

Open your favorite text editor and paste the following text.

Dim WShell
Set WShell = CreateObject("WScript.Shell")
WShell.Run "Notepad.exe", 0
Set WShell = Nothing

Save it to a file with the .VBS extension. When you double click it, it will start Notepad hidden.

Windows 10 create VBS file Windows 10 save VBS file To call it from a batch file, execute it as follows:

wscript ""path\to\your vbs file.vbs"

Windows 10 run VBS file Here, the Run method of the Wscript.Shell object runs a program in a new process. The second parameter is 0, which tells it to run the application hidden.
If you need to run an application with some command line arguments, the syntax is as follows:

WShell.Run "path\to\app.exe /argument1 /argument2", 0

If the application path contains spaces, add quotes to the beginning and to the end of the path. For example:

WShell.Run """" & "C:\Program Files (x86)\Mozilla Firefox\firefox.exe" & """", 0

Hide process Windows 10 extra quotes 1 You can verify that the app is running by opening Task Manager. You will see Notepad.exe running but no window will be shown for it. Windows 10 run program hidden

Method 2. Using PowerShell

PowerShell in Windows 10 and earlier versions comes with a built-in cmdlet Start-Process which can be used to start programs hidden too.
The syntax is as follows:

Start-Process -WindowStyle hidden -FilePath Notepad.exe

Windows 10 create PS1 file If you save this text in a file with a .PS1 extension, then you can call it from a batch file as follows:

powershell -executionPolicy bypass -file "path\to\my file.ps1"

Windows 10 save PS1 file Windows 10 run PS1 file Windows 10 PS1 file started

Method 3. Using a third party tool

There are a number of third party tools which can use to manipulate window states. The only problem with such third party tools is that they often trigger false positives in antivirus software. If you need to use a third party tool, I suggest you to play with these:
Quiet

The syntax is as follows:

Quiet.exe "path\to\executable file.exe"

NirCmd by NirSoft
NirCmd is a powerful console tool which can do a lot of useful tricks. One of its options is the ability to start a process hidden.
The syntax is as follows:

nircmd exec hide "C:\Windows\Notepad.exe"

That's it. If you use some alternative way to start an app hidden in Windows 10, feel free to share it in the comments.

14 thoughts on “Run a program hidden in Windows 10

  1. Spectre

    Really great for fork bombing a friend.

    Reply
    1. Sergey Tkachenko Post author

      hahaha. very nice idea.

      Reply
  2. David H Johnson

    This works with Notepad, but it can’t find any files elsewhere. I put in proper path with quotations. Nothing doing. Have you tried running it with other installed applications?

    Reply
    1. Sergey Tkachenko Post author

      Sure I tried.
      Can you post your script here?

      Reply
      1. David H Johnson

        Just replace notepad with any other program that has an actual path. Like “C:\Program Files (x86)\VSO\ConvertX\6\ConvertXtoDvd.exe”. I run the script and it says it can’t find it. I run VBS every day. I even put it on root drive. Not that I want to run above invisibly, but I was just trying it out.

        Reply
        1. Sergey Tkachenko Post author

          I figured out what is the problem.
          If path contains spaces, like in your case in “Program Files”, you need to use extra quotes in the Run method arguments. See this image:
          Hide process Windows 10 extra quotes Hide process Windows 10 extra quotes 1
          Added this to the article.

          Reply
  3. Phil

    Who fixed a lots of bugs on win10 anniversary update?
    Bill Gates?

    Reply
    1. Sergey Tkachenko Post author

      They have a huge number of developers.
      But not Bill Gates :)

      Reply
      1. Phil

        thanks for the reply

        Reply
  4. Mihai Balan

    :( doesn`t work on wind 10 :( need for one game to hide HxD.exe
    app start after using cmd, PowerShell but I can see it in in task manager
    fu.. why hidetoolz doesn`t work on new windows? :(

    Reply
    1. Sergey Tkachenko Post author

      this is because your app is relaunches itself with a new instance quickly, so it appears visible.
      #notabug

      Reply
  5. Florian C

    Thank you. Excellent article!

    Reply
    1. Sergey Tkachenko Post author

      You are welcome.

      Reply
  6. anonymous

    how do you make a hidden spam notepad

    Reply

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