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  • Apps in Startup Folder Start Slowly

    I've noticed that if I put an app in the startup folder, that it can take 10s or so for the app to start after the PC screen becomes visible following a restart.

    It happens on several different PCs. It happens using several different apps.

    I've seen it for years - just haven't thought much about it until now.

    I don't see anything on the web that talks about it.

    I went to Task Manager and disabled everything under startup except the one app and it still happens. I realize there are processes loading in the background but 10s+ seems like a long time to wait no matter what is happening in the background.

    I'd really like the startup app to be visible to a user much faster.

    Has anyone else experienced that slow start?

  • #2
    The Startup folder is the last place Windows looks at for start up applications. Use HKLM\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Run and see if that helps. If you export the Run key and put your app first and then import the key your app will be the first out of the traps. This 'pecking order' has been around since Windows 98, if not before.

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    • #3
      Another option, which I prefer over the registry entry: Schedulded Tasks. It let's you decide when to start the application, e.g. User Logon and let's you specify certain delays. Which I find quite handy, e.g. for spreading out the resource usage during startup.

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      • #4
        Using a magnetic or SSD hard disk? The storage subsystem has an impact there, faster IO storage will help the OS start apps faster.
        <b>George W. Bleck</b>
        <img src='http://www.blecktech.com/myemail.gif'>

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        • #5
          I wrote a couple of small console applications which simply print the current value of the QueryPerformanceCounter and wait until I press a key. I put one in the Run key and the other in the Startup folder.

          This what I got:
          264314788 Run key
          413277083 Startup folder

          The difference is 148962295 which, when divided by my Performance frequency of 10MHz, gives 14.9 seconds.

          I have an application in the Startup folder which opens on a Restart and it does so quite a while after my desktop appears. I had previously timed that with my watch and reckoned it was about 13 seconds after the desktop appeared.

          Some years ago Microsoft were to my mind a bit naughty when they tweaked the boot up to show the desktop much earlier so that we thought our machines were booting mush faster. They weren't.

          I am booting from a SSD. It is old and not as fast as modern SSDs.

          I have four links in my Startup folder but have no desire to have them started earlier. I have a few applications in the Run key one of which is my Antivirus software. It makes sense to have that load early on.

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          • #6
            Originally posted by David Roberts View Post
            I have a few applications in the Run key one of which is my Antivirus software. It makes sense to have that load early on.
            I assume that's not the actual AV software, but rather its command center that let's you interact with the actual AV service. I'd be very surprised, if yours wasn't implemented as a service and therefore starts very early in the boot process. It would kinda defeat the purpose of protecting your machine from viruses that try to establish themselves in one of the (user) autostart locations.

            If it's actually not implemented as a service, I'd personally dump it within seconds after reading this.

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            • #7
              I didn't go into specifics and just called it "my Antivirus software". I use ESET Internet Security and won't be dumping that anytime soon.

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              • #8
                Right. As I guessed, that (=the actual AV engine) is a service, as you can easily check for yourself in services.msc. What you have in the startup folder is the control center for it, as services in general can't provide a UI in Windows, but you somehow need to configure it.

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                • #9


                  CHKDSK (without any options) might show problems in the file structure.
                  Backup before using with the /F/R is suggested.

                  It might be one of the many things here before getting to the startup folder.
                  https://www.techjunkie.com/speed-up-windows-10/

                  Might try turning off virus checker to see how much time it takes at startup.

                  How long is an idea?

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                  • #10
                    The easiest thing for Gary to try is to remove his app from the Startup folder and put it in the Run key as per my post #2.

                    Are none of you aware that items in the Run key are loaded much earlier than the Startup folder?

                    For some strange reason Gary hasn't returned to this thread since his opening post - he has posted elsewhere.

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                    • #11
                      Originally posted by David Roberts View Post
                      Are none of you aware that items in the Run key are loaded much earlier than the Startup folder?
                      We are. But I still consider it easier to create a new Scheduled Task via a GUI than to fiddle around with registry keys. Not that the later is hard, but it doesn't provide the flexibility/options that a scheduled task provides.

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                      • #12
                        Howdy, David!
                        Yes, you'd think returning to the scene of the crime would be a normal thing one does! It just goes to show how much "Squirrel!" plays a role in my life. Although, in this case having to attend to my brother-in-law who went into ICU with gangrene and being without power for 3 days has also played a role. It was easier to post a joke than to work on something technical.

                        I do intend to try out your suggestion - just haven't gotten there yet.

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                        • #13
                          And, David,
                          My question has to do with software that I install on other folks PC, so I do have a reluctance to muck with their Registry.

                          But, the tradeoff is a user complaint about slow startup vs whatever damage I might accidentally cause to their Registry. I don't really think Registry damage is likely with tested code but it is something to consider.

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                          • #14
                            Hi Gary

                            Don't mess with reg files or importing programmatically just use the Registry Editor. It is straightforward and all you will be doing will be adding a name and a path to your application - couple of minutes.

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                            • #15
                              Originally posted by Gary Beene View Post
                              And, David,
                              My question has to do with software that I install on other folks PC, so I do have a reluctance to muck with their Registry.

                              But, the tradeoff is a user complaint about slow startup vs whatever damage I might accidentally cause to their Registry. I don't really think Registry damage is likely with tested code but it is something to consider.
                              You can roll out a PB solution but,
                              In an other post you mentioned that you were using Inno Setup.
                              it has a Registry Section just for that purpose easy to use.

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                              • #16
                                Howdy, Rod!

                                Good point. I'll take a look at that. Goodness knows that Inno Setup has been around for decades and used by millions of people. If that doesn't constitute a good test bed, what does!

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                                • #17
                                  My question has to do with software that I install on other folks PC, so I do have a reluctance to muck with their Registry.



                                  The registry is DESIGNED for use by the people who create software to be installed on other people's PCs. Muck On!
                                  Michael Mattias
                                  Tal Systems (retired)
                                  Port Washington WI USA
                                  [email protected]
                                  http://www.talsystems.com

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                                  • #18
                                    Howdy, MCM!

                                    ...is DESIGNED for use...
                                    As were INI files, where a mistake doesn't have any potentially Global effect on the user.

                                    However, I'm not talking about reluctance = 10, more like reluctance = 2. I always use INI files over Registry changes simply because it's easier to delete all traces of the installed app manually.

                                    In the case where using the Registry can provide a user benefit, such as David describes for speeding display of a Startup app, use of the Registry sounds like a reasonable option.

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                                    • #19
                                      Originally posted by Michael Mattias View Post
                                      The registry is DESIGNED for use by the people who create software to be installed on other people's PCs. Muck On!
                                      "Times, they are changing!"

                                      In an interesting twist of events, MS switch from file-based (INI) configs to (kinda) database-based (registry) configs back to file-based configs (.NET's app.config = XML, stored in the user's AppData folder) again.

                                      And while the registry may have been designed with also 3rd party applications in mind back then, these days its more of a purely OS / environment (Active Directory) configuration/management tool. And the later might very well prevent local apps from accessing certain registry keys. Especially those designed to automate applications running without user intervention, because that's what each malware tries to achieve.

                                      I'm aware that Gary's application most likely doen't target corporate users, but as this is a programming forum, the advice given here should consider all possible environments, as other users might stumbled upon these threads and unknowingly implement sub-optimal solutions.

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                                      • #20
                                        Howdy, David!

                                        Ok, I may be slow, but here I am trying out your suggestion. Creating the new value was easy enough. I used NotePad for a test and then also put a shortcut to EZFree in the Startup folder.

                                        I restarted and once the desktop was visible, NotePad appeared in 9 seconds. EZFree appeared in 15 seconds. I'm running a new i7 PC with an SSD drive.

                                        While that was a definite improvement, 9 seconds is hardly a "fast" startup. Is that the best I can expect? Is there no way to get 1-2 seconds? When you are sitting there twiddling your thumbs, 9 seconds seems like a really long time.


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