Inspect and optimise your Windows startup programs with StartEd Lite
StartEd Lite is a free-for-personal-use Windows application for viewing, editing and optimising your startup programs.
It’s a familiar idea – we’ve probably used hundreds of programs which claim to do exactly the same thing – but StartEd does manage to include some interesting and unusual ideas.
The program doesn’t get off to a good start. It has to be installed, as there’s no portable option, and the list of startup programs is taken from your startup folder and Registry Run keys only. StartEd will only ever display a fraction of the programs you’ll see in AutoRuns.
What you do get is a couple of tabs listing your startup programs and Windows services. The Services tab in particular has plenty of detail, listing each service short name, long name, startup time, status, description, dependencies and more.
That’s a lot of technical information, but StartEd tries to help by colour-coding items as “Obsolete”, “New”, “Essential”, “Safe to Remove”, even “Trojan Horse”, and more.
This coding isn’t always accurate or reliable. Some items marked “Safe to disable” probably aren’t, and important system services aren’t always marked as “Essential”. But we found the program did offer some useful suggestions, and as long as you investigate them first you shouldn’t run into any problems.
Right-clicking a startup item displays options to search for it online, open its folder in Explorer, view its Explorer file properties dialog or – if you’re sure it’s surplus to requirements – delete it entirely.
There are some thoughtful extras. You can launch a startup program directly from the list, for instance. There’s also a right-click option to create a desktop shortcut to a program, great if you’d like to delete something but still need an easy way to launch it on demand.
The Services tab has another plus in its Notes field, a custom line of text which every service can have. StartEd uses this to display more readable descriptions for some services, so for example the “seclogon” Notes field is “allows a Limited User to run an executable as a higher level user using Run As..” But if you want to use it to highlight services to check later, add the date you first noticed them or record some other detail, that’ll work too.
One of StartEd’s most unusual features is its ability to edit existing startup items, as well as create new ones. If you don’t want to delete an item entirely you can change it in some way, maybe delete an existing parameter or add a new one.
Most surprisingly, StartEd can even edit shortcuts from within the program. We double-clicked a .lnk file and were able to adjust its hotkey, its initial window start (normal, minimised, maximised), working folder, parameters and more.
It’s important to make these tweaks with care, of course, but the ability to create system restore points with a click gives you a little protection.
If you need more, the $19 StartEd Pro gives you the ability to save and restore individual startup configurations, and licences the program for commercial use.
StartEd Lite is a free-for-personal-use application for Windows XP and later.