Given the popularity of customizing or ‘tweaking’ a system to better meet individual needs, it’s little surprise that a variety of third party startup manager programs exist. Of the different freeware and shareware programs available, two of out favorites are Xteq X-Start from Xteq Systems, and Startup Control Panel by Mike Lin. X-Start is a full-blown tweaking utility that is free for non-commercial use, and allows you to tweak just about every element of a Windows system, including relevant startup and shutdown settings. The explanations provided for each setting are particular helpful, as is the wizard feature that will walk an inexperienced user through the settings step-by-step.
If it’s a more simple utility that you’re after, then Startup Control Panel is probably your best bet. This utility, illustrated above, adds an additional applet to Control Panel called Startup. Accessing the applet provides you with a quick and easy way to both enable and disable startup options according to their system location. While many utilities provide a myriad of complex options, Startup Control Panel does an excellent job of keeping things simple for users just looking to control their startup environment.