Schedule your PC's Startup and Program Launch

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Your PC includes a simple interface for launching applications when you start it up. You can also configure it to wake up or power on automatically just before you get to work. Save a little power and time with these tips.

There are two main approaches to these tweaks: Add items to the Startup Folder directly, or run the Scheduled Tasks wizard. Here's how to do both.

Startup Folder: Two different Startup folders govern items that launch at boot-up. Items inside C:\Documents and Settings\All Users\Start Menu\Programs\Startup will launch for every computer user. Items inside C:\Documents and Settings\[Your Username]\Start Menu\Programs\Startup will open only for your specific account.

Place aliases to your favorite programs inside one of these folders. Drag an application icon over by holding the right mouse-button, and then let go. Once you've released the icon, select the Create Shortcuts Here option. Repeat this process with applications you always use: mail software, a Web browser, an instant messenger, or anything else.

If needed, hold Shift while you boot to temporarily disable these startup items. Remove the aliases to permanently halt their launch.

Keep a Boot or Wake Schedule: Some PCs can start themselves up on a schedule; this ability is dependent on the BIOS. When booting up, look for the prompt to enter the BIOS, and press that key. If your PC supports this feature, you'll adjust the settings inside, before loading Windows.

As an alternative, set your PC to wake up on a schedule within Windows. Open the Scheduled Tasks Control Panel, and open Add Scheduled Task. Click Next, then select the application you want to open. Fill out the scheduling information on the following pages, and click the box to Open advanced properties for this task when I click Finish. Click Finish, then click the Settings tab. Click the option to Wake the computer to run this task.

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