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Software Reviews
MetaProducts: Startup Organizer 2.6

Introduction

MetaProducts Startup Organizer is a little utility that offers to organize all of the programs starting when your computer boots up. You can configure the startup programs for each user and for all users in all of the possible categories. It can access the "win.ini" file, all of the registry startup keys and the startup folder in the programs menu. Additionally, it allows you to setup a custom order for all of these programs to start in.

A license currently (April 2005) can be purchased from MetaProducts' site for $25.00. Alternatively, the program is also bundled with their "Desktop Collection" suite, which sells for $58.50 and includes TrayIcon Professional Edition, Startup Organizer, AutoDialogs and DeskTool.

Basic Use

I installed the program and immediately started it. The main screen of the application is very well designed (something I noticed even in the screenshots on MetaProducts' site). On the left side you see a directory structure of the startup command locations. They are sorted into categories and sub-categories for the "Startup menu," "Registry," "Win.INI," "Services" and finally "Controlled Startup". Sub-categories exist within these categories. You can choose any category or sub-category item, and on the right see the program referenced, the command used to launch the program, and whether the program is running currently. Also on the right is where you would check a box beside any of the items listed to indicate whether they should or should not run at startup.

Main Screen
Fig. 1 ... Main Screen of Startup Organizer 2.6

Occasionally, programs that you install may configure a startup option that you cannot control. One example is QuickTime, which automatically installs a tray icon that loads on every boot. The icon can be removed from within QuickTime, but it still loads an invisible program every time you start your computer.

Startup Organizer will let you uncheck an item to completely disable its starting. Or, if you right-click on an item, you can delete it from the list entirely. (The first time I did that I was surprised when a warning box popped up. The warning was from Spybot TeaTimer, which I've been trying out lately. It just wanted to confirm that I was ok with the changes being made to the registry.)

Something you might consider before making permanent changes and deleting items is the backup functionality included in Startup Organizer. By clicking File -> Configuration -> Backup, you can backup your current configuration. That way if something goes wrong on your next boot and you don't know what went wrong you can restore your previous startup configuration.