Startup time for anything but the most virginal OS is a frustrating experience in disk thrashing, as a dozen or more programs compete for the processor's limited attention, battling over it like sci-fi convention attendees flocking a celebrity guest in the hotel bar. Startup Delayer 2.5 acts like hotel security, keeping the clamoring hordes at bay and letting only one at a time bother the guest...er... processor.
Startup Delayer allows a user to place a delay on each of their startup programs, so that they each have time to launch before another begins making demands on the disk and CPU. It is very simple to use--just drag a program from the listing to the white bar below. A line will appear indicating how long it will be from startup before this program begins. Drag another program to a different spot, and there is a second line. Drag the lines around to lengthen or shorten the gaps. You can also choose to autospace each application. Any program not explicitly delayed by you starts up normally.
I experimented with this. I kept firewall, anti-virus, and other vital programs starting up ASAP, and moved things like Java Updater and Snagit to the back of the line--I can live without them for a minute or two, after all.
Startup was much, much, smoother than usual. Instead of basically doing nothing while my system churned, I was able to launch work apps while minor utilities loaded themselves in the background. Startup Delayer can either graphically show you its progress, or work quietly in the background--your choice.
I found Startup Delayer extremely useful--and it's free. It is worth checking out.