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Application startup duration


The time that it takes for business critical applications to start has a direct impact on the digital experience of employees.

Thanks to the application startup duration, keep the time that employees wait until their applications start under control.

Applies to platform | Windows |  

Measurement of the application startup duration

The application startup duration measures the time elapsed from the moment the kernel launches a new application process to the instant the application displays its main window.

Application startup duration



  • Kernel launches application process

  • Main window shows up

Inspecting application startup duration through Finder and NXQL

Executions is the activity that holds application startup duration in Nexthink. Look for executions of selected business applications in the Finder by creating an investigation:

  1. At the bottom of the Start page, click New Investigation.

  2. Under the Activities tab, select executions.

  3. Fill the conditions and time frame as desired.

  4. Ensure that the Columns in the DISPLAY section include the Startup duration of the execution.

  5. Click Run

In NXQL, the name of the field Startup duration is translated into startup_duration. For instance, to get a list of executions with the path of the binary run and the startup duration, type in the query:

(select (binary_path startup_duration) (from execution) (limit 100))

In addition, the aggregate Average application startup duration is available to compute averages of the application startup duration for the device, user, application, executable and binary objects. As such, the aggregate can be used in quantity metrics.

The aggregate Average application startup duration is available in NXQL under the name average_process_start_time. For example, to compute the average startup duration of applications for the last day, type in the query:

(select name (from device
   (with execution (compute average_process_start_time)
   (between now-1d now))))


The application startup duration is not available for all applications out of the box, but only to applications whose executable files appear on a particular passlist. By default, the passlist includes the following applications:

Application type


Executable name

Web browser





Internet Explorer


Office suite












Skype for business




For the Collector to report accurate application startup duration, an application must fulfil the following requirements:

Native title bar in main window

The measurement of the startup duration requires applications to display a standard title bar in the main window to distinguish it from splash screens. Applications that do display any window (console applications or applications that run minimized) are discarded from the measurement.

The application is not a Universal Windows Platform (UWP) app

The measurement method does not work for this kind of applications.

The application takes less than 3 minutes to start

The startup duration is not reported for applications that take longer than 3 minutes to start, as this may indicate other issues (e.g. application not responding).

The application uses one process for initializing and displaying the main window

The Collector may report inaccurate startup duration values for applications that spawn multiple processes for initialization with just one process responsible for displaying the main window.


To add an application to the passlist, ensure first that it satisfies the requirements and test the accuracy of the measurements before enabling the new passlist in production. Always include the default list of executables in your own passlist.

The format of the passlist is a string that consists of a comma-separated list of executable names. The asterisk can be used as wildcard to replace zero or more characters in the name of an executable, for instance:


Use any of the following methods to modify the passlist of applications.

Registry key

To locally modify the passlist of a device, edit this registry key:


MSI parameter

Alternatively, install the Collectors with your passlist as value of this MSI parameter:


Library pack

In the Collector Configuration library pack, execute the remote action Set Collector Configuration and use your passlist as the value for the parameter AppStartTimeWhitelist.

The operations described in this article should only be performed by a Nexthink Engineer or a Nexthink Certified Partner.

If you need help or assistance, please contact your Nexthink Certified Partner.


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