Windows Startup Manager

good
key review info
application features
  • It allows you to easily disable or delete unwanted programs that run in your Windows startup. You can use it on your currently running instance of Windows, as well as on an external instance of Windows in another drive.
  • (1 more, see all...)

System Startup affects the way your PC will boot. In order to gain time and boot faster you need to optimize, sort and manage startup items. On a regular basis, it is recommended to boot with a small number of applications that “eat” all resources and decrease the amount of memory left for the operating system’s components to load, and in this regard there are solutions to optimize the loading process.

You can create some sort of order for the applications to start (leave the ones that require more memory at the end of the list so that OS components would load first), apply delay time between loading applications, or just use the smallest, easiest startup manager you can find and remove or disable unwanted startup entries.

The latter solution is easy to apply but not so effective, because we often need certain applications to start with Windows (antivirus – which takes a big bite out of the system’s memory, firewall, or any other security-related programs) and others to launch with a delay. This kind of programs will make the difference, when it comes to system startup.

The WhatInStartup application was designed to be a small, easy-to-use startup manager that would help the user disable, enable or remove startup entries. From the get go I must mention that the review was made for the initial release (1.00) of the software, so it is still a work in progress.

WhatInStartup is free of charge and requires from Windows 2000 up to Windows 7 operating systems to work. It does not install or add any registry entries to Windows, and all you have to do is extract the files and run the application. It can also be copied to portable drives and run from there. All the modifications that are made will be stored in a configuration file within the root directory.

I can say that I was pleased to notice that WhatInStartup lists all the startup entries instantly, when you first run it (I found other startup managers that were a little slow with the indexing process). The main window will display a list with the available items. Column Settings will let you choose what columns you would like to appear in the main window. Select all of them and you will have a report about every item.
 
For each entry you can select to view the name, type (Machine or User Run), command line (the process runs with command line parameters, e.g. -hide, -autorun), disabled (status: yes / no), product name. The following five columns provide user information about file version, product description (as mentioned by manufacturer), company, location (and this is very important because you can see the actual registry key location) and product path.

There is much information about the entries, so WhatInStartup also provides an HTML and text report summary for all or each item separately. The first test that I did was using Winamp, which adds an entry to the startup list. WhatInStartup will allow you to create a system tray icon so that any modifications to startup can be indexed. After installing Winamp, with WhatInStartup running in system tray, the entry did not appear in the main list.

After a quick refresh (use the Refresh button) the entry was added to the list. I think that a small adjustment would help a lot – to let the user set up some sort of refresh time for new entries to be indexed. Instant refresh would be even better.

The developer talks about “a special Permanent Disabling feature” (see product page) that is implemented in Permanent Disable Mode, found in the Options tab menu. It refers to the applications that you disabled and which will try to create startup entries again.

The test that I did to prove that this feature works involved disabling Winamp from WhatInStartup. All changes that are made will take effect after system reboot. Although the Winamp Agent entry was still in the list of startup items found by msconfig command (Start>Run>msconfig), the Winamp tray icon did not appear after reboot.

The User Interface offers you the possibility to choose the startup scheme from Advanced Options. This is very useful when you have multiple OSes installed and you want to load other startup list than the one in C:\Windows.

The Good

The application provides a simple but efficient way to enable, disable or remove startup entries in order to optimize system boot time. All information about the items can be summarized in an HTML or text report. WhatInStartup does not require any installation so you can run it from portable drives too. The Permanent Disabling feature and its implementation are something I found only in WhatInStartup.

The Bad

Unlike the msconfig command (Start>Run>msconfig), WhatInStartup will not show startup services too. The User Interface needs a few adjustments to look more attractive, even if you run the application on XP.

The Truth

WhatInStartup is a simple, easy-to-use tool that can help you view information about startup entries, create a summary report, enable, disable, and keep applications disabled, or remove entries.

To gain more time in system boot you can use three general schemes: apply a delay after each component, create boot order, or remove unwanted applications that require a lot of memory from startup. WhatInStartup provides only the last scheme. It would be a plus to find one more.
 
Here are some snapshots of the application in action:

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user interface 3
features 3
ease of use 4
pricing / value 4


final rating 3
Editor's review
good
 

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