2009-12-21

Start up Windows software optionally

There are plenty of good software programs that will do this for you, but if you don't want to trust anyone else then you can write it all yourself.

Start NotePad and customise the following script to point at the software you want to load optionally.
' Ask if you want to optionally start a program

RunMyProgram "Pidgin", "C:\Program Files\Pidgin\pidgin.exe"
'RunMyProgram "Skype", "C:\Program Files\Skype\Phone\Skype.exe"

'************************
SUB RunMyProgram (SoftwareName, SoftwarePath)
Dim ClickResult, myShell
ClickResult = MsgBox ("Did you want to run " & SoftwareName & "?", vbYesNo, "Run " & SoftwareName & "?")
If ClickResult = vbYes Then
 SET myShell = WScript.CreateObject("WScript.Shell")
 Set myExec = myShell.Exec(SoftwarePath)
 Set myShell = Nothing
End If
END SUB
'************************
If you don't know the "SoftwarePath" for your program then you can find that out by right clicking on the icon of the software and selecting "Properties", examine the field "Target".

Save the file with a .vbs extension (.wsh should work as well), in this case "Pidgin.vbs". Ideally you would place this in a special tools folder, or even directly in your startup folder.
Windows 7: C:\Users\username\AppData\Roaming\Microsoft\Windows\Start Menu\Programs\Startup
You are going to have to at least place a short cut to the vbs file in this start up folder.

If you want this feature for the startup item for everyone who uses your computer then place the file or shortcut in
Windows 7: C:\ProgramData\Microsoft\Windows\Start Menu\Programs\Startup

What if the software starts automatically by itself? You're going to have to stop this behaviour. Hopefully this happens just from a shortcut in the StartUp program group which you can get to by examining the paths above. You could also run MSCONFIG and disable the software there. A warning though, you can mess up your computer pretty badly if you start disabling items without knowing what you are doing.