Start me up

Reading time: 2 mins

It’s getting very techie around here isn’t it, last one for a … well… a couple of days at least.

If you are anything like me when you sit down and turn on your computer you really want it to start as fast as possible. You don’t want to have to wait until Windows loads and then wait again until all those other little programs load, no you just want to get right to work.

Of course you can’t because, probably unbeknownst (ohh I love that word, must use it more often) to you, there are several little programs all trying to run at startup. A lot of these will be small programs that you’ll never notice as they don’t do anything except check for updates, but they still take time to start and take system resources whilst they are running.

One way to see what is running is to call up the Task Manager – for XP users, right-click the taskbar and select “Task Manager” from the menu, for other Windows users I think CTRL+ALT+DEL will bring up the required dialog but be careful you only do that once or you’ll reset your machine… maybe… I can’t remember to be honest. In the Task Manager window there is a “Processes” tab and this lists all the programs running on your machine. There will be quite a few in there, as Windows uses around 30 little programs for a variety of different things. Now you CAN close programs from there – highlight the program in the list and click the button, bottom-right, that says “End Process” – but you need to be careful. Again XP won’t let you close anything that Windows NEEDs to have running. As with most things of course YMMV.

Alas Task Manager is only handy when everything has already started, but what if you find yourself continually closing programs just after you start Windows? Where do they come from? How do you stop them!

Enter a little applet which, when installed, you can access from your Control Panel. Mike Lin’s Startup Control Panel is it’s name and I’ve been using it for years. It will list EVERY program that tries to run at startup, with each startup area (user specified (your startup folder in the Start menu), common programs, and any sneaky hidden ones in your registry), and it allows you to stop them from running or delete them from the startup list so you never need to worry about them again!

It’s a simple solution that, over time will save you hours of closing programs, and it can help if you’ve got any nasty programs trying to keep themselves hidden. It’s well worth a look and, best of all, it’s free (donations welcomed though).

Anyway, that’s not why I’m here, in fact I’m not supposed to be here, I’m supposed to be in the garden.