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Part II: Getting the Most Out of Your Ev... > Starting Up and Shutting Down

4. Starting Up and Shutting Down

In this chapter, you’ll learn how to:

  • Launch applications and scripts automatically at startup.

  • Synchronize your system time with an external time server.

  • Control the startup using the System Configuration Utility.

  • Control the startup using Boot.ini.

  • Customize the shutdown process using batch files and scripts.

In times past, launching Microsoft Windows was the perfect opportunity to catch up on your voice mail or grab another cup of coffee. That’s because the Windows startup used to be a glacially paced affair that often took minutes to complete (and few minutes are as long as those spent waiting for a computer to boot). Windows XP changed all that by being, if not exactly zippy, at least pleasingly faster than previous incarnations. Note, however, that we’re talking here about out-of-the-box startup performance. Drivers, network logons and scripts, and program launches can still slow the startup process to a crawl. To ensure the best startup performance, and to ensure that Windows XP is set up the way you want it each time you boot your machine, you need to take charge of all phases of the startup process. This chapter will show you how to do just that by taking you through some little known but very useful tools. Tools and techniques such as launching programs and scripts, editing Boot.ini, and using the Windows Advanced Options Menu will expedite startup, and using the SHUTDOWN command and deleting files while shutting down will expedite shutdown.

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