One of the most frustrating aspects of Windows (no, I don’t mean User Access Control in Vista) is the amount of time that it takes Windows to boot.
The information about how to solve this has been well hidden, but, did you know that you can channge the way Windows XP and Windows Vista start programs? Would you like to change auto-starting programs from starting immediately as Windows boots so that they start after a delay of your choice?
You can, and one of my favorite free programs gives us an easy way to control these settings. That program is WinPatrol.
Of course, part of the problem is that almost every program we install wants to install part of itself as an always-running program, and starting automatically every time we boot Windows.
One of the culprits is Microsoft Office’s ctfmon.exe. When you install Microsoft Office, it sets up ctfmon.exe to be automatically started when you boot your computer. If you disable that, when you start one of the Office programs, it starts ctfmon.exe — and leaves it running when you exit the Office program. What does ctfmon.exe do? It activates the Alternative User Input Text Input Processor (TIP) and the Microsoft Office Language Bar. It monitors the active windows and provides text input service support for speech recognition, handwriting recognition, keyboard, translation, and other alternative user input technologies. Isn’t that just great? But, what if you don’t do any of those alternate input forms (you don’t need it to use the keyboard!)?
That’s where WinPatrol comes in handy. For this purpose, let’s assume that we really want ctfmon.exe to run automatically. But, we don’t need it to run immediately as part of the Windows boot process. Similarly, i don’t want Acronis’ scheduler and its other programs starting immediately, I don’t immediately need the iTunesHelper and Karen’s Replicator. I don’t want the QuickTime Task monitor to run at all.
WinPatrol will handle all these issues for me.
Since I recently reinstalled Windows XP on my notebook, I left everything running automatically so I could use it as an example in this article.
Here’s the list of Startup Programs that WinPatrol found (I use the Plus version, which provides access to their knowledge database about the programs and recommends which are safe to leave and which should be removed).
Below is the Delayed Start tab, which by default is blank. That means that Windows will start up all those auto-starting programs before it lets me use the computer.
I’ve selected the programs that I want to move to the Delayed Start menu. When I right-clicked on one of the selected programs, i was able to pick Move to Delayed Start Program List.
Below, you can see in the Type column that I’ve disabled some of those auto-starting programs. This won’t prevent them from running if I click on them to run, but it will prevent them from automatically starting.
Now, you can see the Delayed Start tab, with the items I moved to it. By default, they will delay 30 seconds before trying to start. But, how long has it been since you saw Windows actually boot within 30 seconds. We need to change those values, too.
By right-clicking on an item in the Delayed Start list, we get a popup Context Menu with an option Delayed Start Options… Unfortunately, these have to be set individually for each program.
Here’s an example of the Program Delay Startup Options setting screen for one of the programs I put into the Delayed Start list.
Finally, you can see the programs in the Delayed Start list and the delay times I’ve picked for each. This way, Windows will start more quickly and give me control on the computer more quickly.