Thursday, 26 April 2012

Start Up Menu

Cleaning up items from your Startup folder

Yesterday I noticed on my new Windows 7 machine at work that I had an McAfee anti virus tool in my Startup directory. As I already have a company installed Kaspersky anti-virus tool (not my choice) I wondered how the hell it had got there (my memory is not as it used to be).

Therefore I went searching for ways to clean up my Startup menu as having too many application in there often slows down a fast boot up and we all want to get on our machines and start work as fast as possible don't we!

One good tool that I used to use on my old XP PC before being given a blank Win7 machine was CCleaner and it is still a good tool for cleaning up your browsers, cookies, caches, clipboards, recycle bins, temporary files and a lot more.

In fact I installed and used it yesterday to clean up my registry after I un-installed the McAfee program as there were still related keys that remained after the uninstall.

You can download it from here: Download CCleaner or visit their site:

Another way is to:
  • Go to the Start Menu.
  • Right click on Startup.
  • Select "Open all users".
Make sure your folder has been set to show all hidden files, extensions and anything else Windows might like to be hiding from you.

Another tool which I didn't know about until this morning is to run this from the Run prompt: msconfig.exe

This opens up a nice little windows application that you can configure how the system starts the computer when it is turned on including:
  1. Whether to load all the devices and drivers or only basic ones.
  2. Whether to always boot up in "Safe Mode" or with "Network functionality".
  3. If you really want to you can control how many processors are used and the maximum amount of memory to use.
  4. Under the tools tab it also gives you a wide variety of tools for troubleshooting, removing programs, changing access permissions and much more.
However the thing we are interested in is the Startup tab which lists all the items set to start up automatically when Windows turns on. From here you can enable or disable items in your startup folder.

Adding Items to the Startup Folder

With my new machine I wanted a windows service I had created in .NET to run whenever my PC was started.

The service itself was already set to automatically start on boot but I had created a little windows form application with a "Stop" and "Start" button that enabled me to control the service as well as give me key information about what was going on as well as any problems with the service. Problems such as not being able to connect to the external API I was using or application errors such as not being able to log to my own log file.

To add this application to those that automatically started up I created a shortcut from the .EXE and copied it into the C:\ProgramData\Microsoft\Windows\Start Menu\Programs\Startup folder and now it automatically starts whenever I start my machine.

Hopefully this is useful to someone.

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