Helping people with computers... one answer at a time.
It's often convenient to have something start automatically when you login. There are two places you can specify this that are pretty easy to use.
I have a laptop with XP and would like to have it boot and open my Palm desktop. I can't figure a way to get it added to msconfig's startup file, and I can no longer just go into autoexec.bat and add it. Any suggestions??
MSConfig is a great tool to use to remove things from your computer's start-up, but it's not really intended to add things.
And while there are maybe a couple of dozen places where start-up things can be placed, there's really only two you probably need to know about when adding things of your own. And the great news is that they're very easy to change.
By far the easiest way to have something happen automatically on log in is to add a shortcut to your Startup menu. What's that? That's one of the menu items you'll find within the All Programs menu item underneath your Start menu:
Windows treats the Startup menu specially: it runs whatever it finds there when you login.
In other words, it does exactly what you're asking for.
To add something to your Startup menu, start by right-clicking on the Start menu:
Here, you'll need to make a choice. Recall I said there are two places you'll probably need to know about, and this is where that comes up.
Click on Explore if you want to add a startup item that applies only to the account you're logged in as. In other words, click on Explore when there are other accounts on your machine and you don't want to add something to automatically start for all of them.
Click on Explore All Users if you want to add a startup item that applies to every account. So for example, you would click on Explore All Users if you wanted to add something that automatically starts no matter what account logs in.
If you're unsure I'd recommend just using Explore, which I'll do here:
You can see that this is just Windows Explorer opened on "C:\Documents and Settings\LeoN\Start Menu", which is the folder on my machine where my personal start menu items are stored.
Expand "Start Menu", on the left, and then "Programs", and then click on "Startup", and you should see something similar to this:
Naturally the list of programs you may or may not see there will be different.
There are several ways to create a shortcut to what you want to run.
The most obvious is probably to right-click in the empty area on the right, and select New and then Shortcut:
Then just follow the steps to locate the program or file you want to automatically launch on start up.
An alternate way I find a little less error prone is to use drag-and-drop to create a new shortcut from an existing menu item.
With Windows Explorer opened as above on your Startup menu folder (either your own, or All Users), click on the Start menu, and locate the item you want to have start automatically. Click and hold on that item, and then drag it over to Windows explorer. Don't release just yet. Here's an example of my clicking, holding and dragging TrueCrypt into my Startup folder:
Before you release, press the ALT key so that the plus sign near the icon you're about to drop changes to a shortcut indicator:
Now release the mouse button, and a shortcut will be placed in that Startup folder:
And if you look at your Start menu's Startup item, you'll see it shows up there now as well:
Now each time I log in to my machine, TrueCrypt will be started for me automatically.