Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Speeding Up Windows Login Time - Delayed Startup

These days, my Windows laptops boot relatively fast. The problem I run into more so is that once I enter in my username/password (or scan my finger print), the user login time is painfully slow. Not only does Windows need to do its magic to log me in, but what appears to be dozens of programs fight to start up: Skype, Trillian, Google Talk, etc.

The result is that for the first few minutes after logging in, the laptop is totally swamped and unusable. This would be find if I wanted to startup my laptop and go get a cup of tea. But, if I actually want to start working -- well, that's another story altogether. It's a painful problem that Windows has had for years, and I don't see any sort of fix in place in Windows 7.

In the past, I've used msconfig to disable programs at startup. And this can help. But, the reality is, it's nice to have all these applications startup without me having to explicitly do so.

Thinking this through (I certainly had enough time on my last reboot/login), it occurred to me: why the heck is Windows trying to start up all these applications at the same time when I log in? I mean, do I really need Skype started at login time? What if it kicked off 3 minutes after login. Or what if Google Talk started up 30 minutes after I was logged in.

If I had this delayed ability, I wouldn't be forced to choose between a fast login time, and having to remember to start up apps.

Alas, Windows doesn't offer this functionality (as far as I can tell). But of course, others have already thought about this concept and there are a number of solutions out there.

The one I'm currently experimenting with is: Startup Delayer. It does just what the name suggests, and allows you to schedule the start up of apps.

Startup Delayer is nice and simple, which I like. Beyond that, I don't have an opinion yet about whether it's the ideal solution.

I'm baffled as to why Windows hasn't built in this functionality yet. It seems to me like it would be relatively easy to do, and could make their login process significantly more manageable. Who knows, not being a Windows person, perhaps there's a good reason they've avoided offering this capability.

Update: This morning I had my first reboot since I installed Startup Delayer. Wow, am I impressed. I was able to get right in and start working, and Startup Delayer gave me a little status window to let me know what was scheduled to start next. Slick stuff.

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