A StartUp solution

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Inside MS Windows 95

A Publication of The Cobb Group

Published June 1997

If you run multiple programs from the StartUp folder, you may want to launch certain programs in a specific order. For instance, if you want to check your E-mail as soon as you turn on your computer, you'll need to start your E-mail program last so that it will be the active application. Or you may need to specify the launch order of special utilities or batch files that might conflict if they run in the wrong sequence.

Whatever your situation, you can resolve snags like this with a little planning and some simple system configuration. In this article, we'll show you how to arrange the programs in your StartUp folder so that they launch in the order that you want.

Let's suppose that you regularly download files from the Internet and that you want to automate the routine management of your Download folder by archiving ZIP and EXE files and deleting other file types. To do so, you've written two batch file utilities—SaveAll and CleanUp. SaveAll copies all files with EXE and ZIP extensions from your Download folder to an Archive folder, and CleanUp deletes the contents of the Download folder. (We actually created these utilities for the purposes of this article.)

To get Windows 95 to automatically run these batch files each time you start up your PC, you created shortcuts to these programs in your StartUp folder, as shown in Figure A.

Figure A We placed shortcuts to our SaveAll and CleanUp batch files in the StartUp folder.


However, after restarting your computer, you discovered that the CleanUp batch file had emptied your Download folder but the SaveAll batch file hadn't copied the files to the Archive folder.

On This Page

What's in a name?
Modifying the StartUp list
Checking it twice

What's in a name?

The reason you lost those Download files is that Windows 95 runs StartUp programs in the order in which they appear on the StartUp menu. By default, the Startup menu arranges its entries alphabetically, as you can see in Figure A. This practice causes an obvious problem in the case of our CleanUp and SaveAll batch files. CleanUp (which by default runs first) deletes the contents of the Download folder before SaveAll (which runs second) copies the EXE and ZIP files to the Archive folder. To make your utilities function properly, you need to force Windows 95 to run SaveAll first and CleanUp second.

Modifying the StartUp list

To modify the order in which Windows 95 launches the programs in your StartUp folder, you'll have to add prefixes such as a, b, c or 1, 2, 3 to the shortcut names. First, right-click an empty area of the taskbar and select Properties from the resulting context menu. Next, select the Start Menu Programs tab in the Taskbar Properties dialog box and click the AdvancedÉ button, as shown in Figure B.

Figure B From the Start Menu Programs tab in the Taskbar Properties window, click the AdvancedÉ button to rename your Program items.


Doing so will launch a Windows Explorer window that contains the Start Menu folder and its contents. In this window, double-click the Programs folder, then open the StartUp folder so that its contents are displayed in the right pane.

Now, right-click the shortcut to the program that you want to launch firstÑin this case, SaveAll. Then, press [F2] and type a new name for the file. Now, press the left arrow key (=) to move your cursor to the beginning of the name SaveAll and then simply add the prefix a_. Next, rename the CleanUp program b_CleanUp to force Windows 95 to launch that program next. You can repeat this process for all programs in your StartUp folder that need to be started in a specific order. When you've finished modifying the names of your shortcuts, close the Windows Explorer window and then click OK in the Taskbar Properties dialog box.

Checking it twice

To verify your changes, click the Start button and select Programs, then StartUp. Your programs should be displayed in the context menu in the order you specified, as shown in Figure C on the previous page.

Figure C Check the contents of your StartUp folder to ensure that the a_SaveAll shortcut appears before b_CleanUp.


Now, restock the Download and Archive folders, check their contents, as shown in Figure D (also on page 7), and then restart your computer. When Windows 95 restarts, your programs will run in the correct order.

Figure D Check the contents of the Download and Archive folders prior to restarting your PC.


As you can see in Figure E, SaveAll ran first, copying the EXE and ZIP files to the Archive folder. Then, CleanUp ran and deleted all files from the Download folder.

Figure E As you can tell from the contents of the Download and Archive folders, SaveAll and CleanUp ran in the correct order.



Having multiple programs in the StartUp folder can potentially cause conflicts if the software needs to launch in a certain order. In this article, we've shown you how to avoid those conflicts by specifying the order in which your StartUp items run.

The article entitled "Starting up in sequence" was originally published in Inside Microsoft Windows 95, June 1997. Copyright © 1997, The Cobb Group, 9420 Bunson Parkway, Louisville, KY 40220. All rights reserved. For subscription information, call the Cobb Group at 1-800-223-8720.

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