Booting Up: StartupRun & Startup Inspector

by JL Beeken on 6-19-2007

When I can cook a full-course breakfast in the time it takes for booting up my computer I start thinking it must be time to reinstall my operating system. But a much simpler method can make a difference.

One of the big causes of slow boot up are all the programs unnecessarily starting at the same time your computer starts. It’s a good idea to have your firewall and anti-virus starting up at the same time as your computer. And a few others might be desirable. The rest of it is questionable.

A couple years ago I came across a program called StartupRun. It’s for Windows systems. (pre-Vista) What it tells me is what programs are starting when my computer starts. These are all the programs that have given themselves permission to be included in my bootup. Sometimes programs do that when they’re being installed if you’re not watching your options.

I used to fool around with making changes through Windows (the back of beyond somewhere) but I never really understood what I was doing. One time I followed a complex list of instructions from someone who said they got their boot-up time down to 28 seconds. After that I really did have to re-install my operating system.

StartupRun makes it possible to simply disable a startup item without deleting it, so if I find it’s something that’s actually needed I can go back in and re-enable it. It will also show spyware that’s loading and mark it in pink. I’ve never seen any on my computer but that’s what they say.



Some of the items are recognizable, such as Windows Messenger, which I never use, so I simply disable it. That shaves some off my boot-up time. And so on down the list. If I don’t know what it is, I can look it up on Google.

It’s free and it’s totally safe as long as you don’t go deleting things. Disable anything you really don’t need Windows to be including in your startup menu, and look up the meaning of anything you don’t recognize.

Another program that works in a similar way is Startup Inspector, also free, better-looking and with more options.

Startup Inspector

Startup Inspector

This is a smarter cookie. In the lower left is the key of the 5 icons that indicate your programs as either Unknown, Not Recommended, Not Required, User’s Choice and System Required. After you click the Consult button near the top left, it will give you more detailed information on all your programs. Now you can make a decision whether to leave them in your startup menu or turn them off. You will need an Internet connection to get the information.

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