Helping people with computers... one answer at a time.

Lots of software starts when you login to Windows, but you have very little control over timing and order. There are free solutions available.


I have several programs at startup that access the internet before my firewall and anti-virus programs are loaded and read someplace that you can change the startup sequence for programs that load when you boot your P.C.

I would like my firewall and anti-virus to load first before anything else accesses the internet.

I forgot where I read it and don't remember how it's done so maybe if you get the time you can answer explain how this is done.

I have the same problem - in some cases some of the packages that start up try to access my VPN before the VPN has actually been established.

While Windows has no built-in support for this, there are third party tools available.

As you probably know by now, when you login to Windows a number of programs are run automatically. Exactly which, and how many depends on your specific situation; it depends on your hardware and what specific software you have installed. Looking at my own, I see my screen capture utility, my VPN, RoboForm, TrueCrypt, a video card utility, an FTP client, and more.

"Windows doesn't really give you an option to control the order in which those programs are started ..."

Windows doesn't really give you an option to control the order in which those programs are started, or any way to delay their start up. So, for example, if one of my startup programs wants to access something over my VPN, but the VPN hasn't started yet, then that access will fail. If that access could be delayed some, giving the VPN time to complete, then of course it could work.

In researching this problem I came up with two free solutions that look promising.

Jockersoft's Startup Delayer, which I'm currently evaluating is the first solution. So far it seems quite powerful and flexible giving you a almost complete control of what starts, and in what order. It's designed so that it can be run independently of startup as well: have three programs that you always start together? Create a startup list in Startup Delayer, and then just double click on that.

Of particular interest is that Startup Delayer will import your current startup settings, and simply allow you to choose which to bring under its management. Full backup of the existing settings is also included.

The only downside I've seen so far is that the interface to managing your startup sequence might be a little technical and off-putting to some.

The identically named Startup Delayer from r2 Studios which appears to be somewhat simpler, focuses on simply delaying startup tasks. I've not had a chance to try this yet.

I'd be interested to hear of any experiences that readers might have with these, or other solutions.

Article C3393 - May 23, 2008 « »

Leo Leo A. Notenboom has been playing with computers since he was required to take a programming class in 1976. An 18 year career as a programmer at Microsoft soon followed. After "retiring" in 2001, Leo started Ask Leo! in 2003 as a place for answers to common computer and technical questions. More about Leo.

Not what you needed?

May 23, 2008 11:15 AM

I use WinPatrol for delayed startup along with a host of other things. A truly useful program.

Leonard Stone
May 27, 2008 11:11 AM

1. Allow only your firewall and anti-virus at startup.
2. Put all other programs that you want up front in the quick launch and manually initiate.


May 27, 2008 11:37 AM

I know I can do it that way but it takes long enough to boot now let alone manually starting them
But, if there is now other way then your suggestion has a lot of merit.

May 27, 2008 5:45 PM

Oh boy, think I'm going to have to write my own.

II concur that StartupDelayer looks like the best program out there. It's got every damn feature I want, including the stop-in-mid-stream if I want to interrupt the startup tasks (e.g. when I'm installing a bunch of stuff requiring reboots). Actually found it first, and followed backlink to Ask-Leo.

Unfortunately, StartupDelayer doesn't seem to have been updated in some time. Last listed supported OS is Windows Server 2003. The installer doesn't assert admin, which causes it to fail to install as unprivileged user. Installer is a native 32-bit program, which means it misbehaves on 64-bit Windows: installs to Program Files (x86) on an x64 machine. StartupDelayer is a .NET program, which means it will run natively as 64-bit and doesn't belong in the x86 folder.

The R2 program installs fine, but is way too simplistic for my needs. Doesn't work well with: shortcuts, arguments, arbitrary commands. Also requires admin to run. What for? I don't want to manage admin startup, I just want to manage my own startup as an unprivileged user.

WinPatrol probably works fine. But it comes with a whole bunch of other stuff, like BHO managers and registry cleaners. I stay far away from third-party programs that interact deeply with the system. Therefore, no install for me.

Why, oh why, can't any of these people get the software right? I want a simple program (WinPatrol is complex) that allows command-line arguments (which R2 doesn't) and has a trouble-free install (StartupDelayer isn't), and runs happily as an unprivileged user (R2 doesn't) unless I actually need to assert admin privileges (which I don't for the programs I want delayed startup for).

Maybe I'm being picky, but startup delay isn't a hard thing to do. And maybe, as a developer, I have the luxury of knowing that I can get a better program by rolling my own. It won't be as full-featured, but it'll do exactly what I want, and have no fluff beyond what I want.

May 28, 2008 10:28 AM

Hash: SHA1

A long time ago I did write my own. A batch file (now called
a command file). I'd list the command lines for each program
I wanted to start in the order to be started, and included a
"sleep" command between them and, of course, at the begining
for the initial delay. (You can get sleep from various
sources, including Linux tools recompiled for Windows.)

It's geekier than most solutions, and certainly not pretty,
but for those who are comfortable with such approaches, it's
still viable to this day.


Version: GnuPG v1.4.7 (MingW32)


May 28, 2008 10:32 AM

WinPatrol does not do Registry "cleaning."

It does offer a delayed start option which cn be set to 10 second intervals. I am currently using it on several systems. I have never found WinPatrol to be overly complex. Most commands can be accessed through the context menu of each entry.

As to control over BHOs, Services, active tasks, and file types, I think WinPatrol's interface is much more intuitive for the average user than Window's itself. I have it installed on my 82 year old Mother's machine, and she likes the "little dog."

She doesn't much make use of the features, but it is a great tool for me to use in answering her calls for assistance when necessary.

Scotty's "woof" always is for good reason. I have never seen WinPatrol offer up a "false positive."

I am not the only one who highly recommends the "Little dog." Millions use this fine free program daily.

May 30, 2008 4:24 PM

I have been using Startup Delayer from r2 Studios (which was mentioned as an alternative to Jockersoft's Startup Delayer) for over a year now, and I find it meets all my needs for a delay device.
Startup Delayer will set how many seconds to wait, after Windows has started, to load each program in the order you choose. You can put three or four seconds between programs that load quickly and, at the same time, put ten, twenty, thirty seconds, or more, between programs that load slowly.
r2 Studios' Startup Delayer has a simple, intuitive interface, and its settings are easy to change, should you decide you don't like the way you've set up the delays. To return to your original settings (those in effect at the time Startup Delayer is installed), simply check all of the items in green text and uncheck anything else. I can't think of a function that has been left out of this program, and would recommend it highly to anyone needing this type of device.
With its latest release in December of '07, it is compatible with 98/ME/2000/XP/Vista. I have tried it on everything except 2000, and can verify that it works correctly.

Peter Wills
May 31, 2008 9:05 PM

1. Go to and download a small utility program called AutoRuns and use this to check which programs are automatically loading at startup. You can then disable any autostart programs from here.

2. Go to and download their free batchrun utility. It allows you to manually configure what programs you want to run by creating a batch file with a brs extension. Double clicking on the brs file will launch the file and load the programs you have nominated. You can determine the order programs are loaded in by setting a time delay for each program. It does take a little bit of fiddling to set up but works extremely well.

Whilst I dont think it supports separate startup profiles you can create different start up files for different scenarios and activate the required file by double clicking the created start up file. A shortcut can be placed on the desktop.

If you want to always start a particular batch file at windows startup you can place a shortcut entry to the relevant brs file in the Windows start up folder.

February 23, 2009 9:33 AM

To delay the start of certain programs, simply write a simple batch file.

I wanted to delay the start of CoreTemp by 30 seconds, so I wrote a batch file as follows:

@echo off
ping -n 30 localhost > nul
start "title" "c:\program files\coretemp.exe"

Save the file as "mystartup.bat" and have your start up menu point to that.

the "30" is the number of seconds to wait before coretemp is started. You can change it to whatever value you like.

I then have windows start up the batch file during start-up, which will then delay 30 seconds, before starting up coretemp.

No added 3rd party software needed, and the text is simple as can be.

February 22, 2010 11:48 AM

The guy who said to write your own .bat file is a genius.

March 17, 2010 6:51 AM

Fred, you are a life saver. Writing a small batch file is pretty lame but also genius. Thanks a million times....

February 17, 2011 9:28 AM

Fred, don't know why but it does not work for me, issue the command "ping -n 30 localhost > nul" jsut sits there forever. I'm on XP and 7.

Try running "ping -n 30 localhost" without the ">NUL" and see what, if any, errors result.

September 22, 2011 7:52 PM


This is simple and brilliant! Thanks for sharing such an easy and complete solution.


November 14, 2011 3:46 PM

I did try WinPatrol first but it errored, stating that "It couldn't find the file". It was right there where it said it wasn't??!

Uninstalled WP and just used Fred's batch file.

Fred, you're pure genius! Thanks, that worked great! Simple always works best....


Tom T

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