If you need to start different programs on startup, depending on what you need to do on your PC, create different startup profiles with this startup utility.
With the hacks covered in this chapter, you can customize how XP starts up. But there's one thing these hacks won't be able to do for you?create different startup profiles. For that, you need downloadable software.
Let's say, for example, you have a laptop that you sometimes run attached to a keyboard, monitor, and an always-on Internet connection, and other times you travel with it, so it is not connected to the Internet. When you use it when you travel, you use it primarily in airplanes, airports, and other places where you typically aren't connected to the Internet. You also run a piece of monitoring software that will send a signal to a call center if your laptop is stolen. You don't need to run that software when you're not on the road.
Ideally, you would have one set of programs that run automatically at home and another set of programs that run when you're on the road. At home, you might want instant messenger software and file sharing software to load at startup; on the road, you don't want that software to load automatically, but you do want your monitoring software to load.
Advanced StartUp Manager?a piece of shareware from Ray's Lab (http://www.rayslab.com), shown in Figure 1-8?lets you create multiple startup profiles so that you can have separate profiles for your laptop at home and the road?or for any other purpose. It's free to try, but it costs $19.95 if you decide to keep it.
In addition to creating a profile for traveling and one for home, you may want to create other profiles. For example, when you want to play games, you'll want to start your system with a minimal number of services and programs running in the background, so you'll create a profile that disables a variety of services, such as the Indexing service, the Task Scheduler, and the Themes service that lets you apply themes to your PC. If you frequently need to troubleshoot your network, you'll want to create a network-troubleshooting profile that automatically starts networking analysis software, such as QCheck. [Hack #57].
To create a profile, add all the programs you want to run on startup, by having them start from the Startup folder, the Registry, or the Win.ini file. Where you want them to start from is up to you. To add a program, just highlight where you want it to run from, choose File Add Program, and choose the program's executable file. You can add switches, if you want, in the Flags field of the screen you use to add the program. You can also choose whether the program should run for just one specific user or for all users of the machine. To delete a program from the profile, right-click on it and choose Delete.
When you have built a profile with all the programs you want to run at startup, save it by choosing File Backup Configuration as, and then choosing a name for the profile. Create as many profiles as you want. To load a profile, choose File Open Backup, and choose the profile you want to load. After you've loaded a profile, the next time you start your computer it will load with that startup software. Be aware that this means you can't choose a profile when you boot your system. You have to run Advanced StartUp Manager before you exit XP, choose the profile you want to run next time you start XP, and then exit.
OSL 2000 (http://www.osloader.com) lets you boot from up to 100 separate operating systems (including multiple copies of XP or other versions of Windows), lets you boot from a second hard disk, and offers a variety of other features, such as an automatic boot timer. It's shareware and free to try, but it costs $25 if you decide to continue using it.
For software to customize shutdowns, try Shutdown Now! (http://www.dworld.de). It gives you just about every option you can imagine for shutdown. You can specify applications to launch or documents to load automatically before shutdown, schedule shutdowns, perform actions such as ejecting and loading CDs on shutdown, empty directories on shutdown, and the list goes on. It's shareware and free to try, but if you keep using it you're expected to pay $19.50.
For a free shutdown manager, try Switch Off (http://yasoft.km.ru/eng/switchoff), a simple shutdown utility that runs in your system tray. It lets you schedule shutdowns and perform other tasks on shutdown, such as locking your workstation, and it also lets you do any of them quickly from the system tray. It's not nearly as powerful as Shutdown Now!, but it's free.