Startup Cop

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  PC Tech

Take Charge of Windows Start-up


Using Startup Cop

The Start-up Programs

Saving Profiles

The Restore Profile Tab

Startup Cop and Windows 98

Inside Startup Cop

Disabling and Removing Items

Reading and Writing Shortcuts

Simulating Context Help

  Startup Cop
Take Charge of Windows Start-up
The Start-up Programs

Continued from Using Startup Cop

Startup Cop's main window is composed of three tabbed pages: Startup programs, Save profile, and Restore profile. The Startup programs page (see Figure 1) lists all the programs that launch at start-up. The programs are grouped by start-up location, with the group number displayed in the Priority column. The groups load in the order specified by their priority number, and enabled items within a group will load in roughly the order shown.

The User column indicates whether a program loads for every user on the system, or only for the current user. The When column specifies whether the program loads only at Windows start-up, any time any user logs on, or any time the current user logs on.

Each item on the list is preceded by an icon that indicates whether the item is enabled (green light), disabled (yellow light), or marked for removal (red light). When you select a program in the list, the stoplight image below the list lights up to match the item's state. Within each group, enabled items are shown first, then disabled items, and finally items that are ready for removal.

There are three ways to change the selected item's state: click the option buttons next to the stoplight, right-click the item and choose from the pop-up menu, or double-click the stoplight. Changes don't take effect until you click Apply or OK. Click the Reset button to discard all pending changes and reread the list of start-up programs from the system.

The start-up item named SystemTray is a special case. This entry represents the System Tray applet, and without it, there would be no system tray in the taskbar. Startup Cop won't let you disable or remove SystemTray.

For technical details about a particular program, right-click on it and choose Detail from the pop-up menu (see Figure 2). You can also bring up the detail window by selecting the program and clicking the Detail button, or simply by double-clicking on the program. The detail window lists six pieces of information: Name, Command, State, Action, Load from, and Location.

Name is the name listed in Startup Cop's main window. Command is the command that's executed when this start-up item is activated. State is the current state of the item: enabled, disabled, or ready for removal. Action indicates whether an action such as "To be disabled" is pending for the item. Load from specifies the standard location from which the item is loaded. Location specifies the full location of the item. For the two Win.ini items, it spells out the actual location of the Win.ini file. For the three Registry items, it lists the full Registry key name. For the two StartUp group items, it retrieves the special folder name from the system, as this may not be the default folder name. The Detail window closes as soon as you click on it, press a key, or switch to another window.

Disabled items aren't launched at start-up, but you can easily re-enable them if you need to. Startup Cop disables start-up items in exactly the same way Windows 98 does. For Registry-based items, it moves the Registry value that defines the item to a Registry key whose name is identical to the original key but with a minus sign appended to the end. For Win.ini items, it moves the program name to a key named NoLoad= or NoRun=. For StartUp menu items, it moves the shortcut to a subfolder of the StartUp folder's parent with the name "Disabled StartUp Items".

You should not permanently delete a start-up item unless it clearly refers to a program that is no longer present on your system. If you permanently delete the item, Startup Cop cannot restore it. If you delete an item that's important, you may have to reinstall the program to restore its start-up item. For this reason Startup Cop forces you to go through two separate steps to delete an item.

The first step is to select the item and choose Pack for removal from the right-click menu (or click the same-named option button, or double-click the red light). When you click Apply or OK, any items marked in this way will be moved to a special location, in much the same way Startup Cop handles disabled items. Before you can actually delete the item, you must restart Windows completely. Simply logging off and on again is not sufficient, as programs in some of the start-up locations are only launched when Windows completely restarts.

It is up to you, the user, to make sure all is well on your system when Windows restarts. Startup Cop forces you to do the restart, but it's up to you to verify that everything is working properly. After you restart Windows, the items you marked for removal during the previous Windows session can actually be removed, as indicated by the red-light icon with a question mark overlay. Again, note that Startup Cop will always allow you to remove items after you restart Windows; it is up to you to determine whether the start-up was successful and removal is safe.

The button that permits permanent deletion of an item is normally hidden from view and only revealed after you restart Windows. As you can see in Figure 1, the label for the delete button is a red light overlaid with a skull and crossbones. As with other changes, the actual deletion doesn't take place until you click Apply or OK.

Next: Saving Profiles

Published in the 4/20/99 issue of PC Magazine.