4 minute read

Not so long ago, I had an arsenal of tools for managing windows startup applications.

Traditionally I’ve used regedit to find certain applications and irradiate them from startup, but its not ideal as it’s easy to make mistakes.

Instead, I’ve broached using msconfig, a built-in tool that allows you to disable certain startup items or services in a neat interface. The problem is that really that this tool puts windows into a diagnostic or “selective” startup. Not does it really go deep enough.

Finally I started using something called StartupCPL which is a neat little Startup Control Panel, but alas, it didn’t go quite deep enough and seemed a bit crude.

I then moved on to the “Sysinternals” solution called “autoruns“. This was re-enforced when Microsoft purchased the company in 2006. I’ve never looked back since… until now.

Enter Soluto

Before I would make an educated guess as to what was causing a computer to be slow or religiously monitoring using Task Manager or Process Explorer to see what was being a resource hog.

Now Soluto takes the guess work out of it by actually putting figures against application that loads at startup offering you the opportunity to disable it or uninstall it.

Right from the very outset I liked it. The website is very friendly and exactly what I would expect from such a tool, by offering a very relaxed experience, which results in it being not at all intimidating even for the most novice of users.

The downloader application takes no time at all to download and get started, again following the very straightforward no nonsense approach.  Everything is done for you.

Soluto installs and loads a web page, the natural interface of choice for the industry today. Although you can still load their “Old Desktop App” through the advanced menu there’s very little point. Using a web interface is the natural way forward and I applaud their approach.

When the page first loads you’re met with a “sign up” interface, prompting you to enter your name, email address and password, alternatively you can login using your existing Facebook or Google account. You can of course skip all this by clicking “Sign up later”, which is my default choice.

You’re then met with a complete overview of your PC, showing Apps, Background Apps, Frustrations  Internet, Protection and Hardware.

The real interesting thing here, to me, is the “Background Apps” which is the focus point of this article. However, at this point you’ll be met with a message that says “Once the PC reboots, you can decide which apps run automatically in boot”. We’ll need to reboot before we can continue…

At boot time Soluto runs showing a “fold” in the bottom left hand corner of the screen with a time attached and the current starting application so you can see what you’re waiting for.

Once the desktop is responsive Soluto is finished and you can open the Soluto home page so you can begin to review the “background apps”.

You’re greeted with removable apps, potentially removable apps, required apps and “removed apps”. The obvious place to start is at the “removable apps”. Click on the section and start reviewing the apps.

Each app has it’s own individual details telling you what it is, what the recommendation is and actions to take. You can even review what other people have done with this app, either boot, delay or remove; all shown in a neat little pie chart so you’re not left guessing.

If you make a mistake, don’t worry because your app just goes into the “removed apps” section, so just go there to change your mind.

Not only that but if you do actually signup you have the ability to remotely manage computers through their website.

It’s a doddle.

At this point I would normally conclude by suggesting that this has revolutionised the way we start up our computers, which, in a way, it has.

However, there’s an underlying issue that leaves a bitter taste in your mouth when it comes fixing common PC problems automatically, which is that they really shouldn’t exist in the first place.

Yet, low and behold here we are with an application squarely aimed at home users which attempts to take the pain out of startup management to speed up your boot time.

According to the Soluto website the global average boot time is just over 3 minutes and the average time reduced by Soluto is 36 seconds.

Personally, this isn’t exactly a big issue as I only really reboot my systems when required, perhaps once per month for a windows update or new software installed. So saving 36 seconds or even a minute per month isn’t really high on my hit list.

Perhaps this is because I’ve still got the option to use an “always on” device such as my mobile phone while I patently wait. This is assuming that I can’t do without email or the internet for 3 minutes, which quite frankly, I can, but I have the choice not to.

In a time where we can choose to not have to wait at all to use our computers to achieve the simplest of tasks, I struggle to work out why a 3 minute boot time has become an acceptable standard.

Things are changing, this is called a paradigm shift.

We’re no longer waiting for our computers to boot, instead we’ve got a range of mobile internet devices available to us, from smart phones, to tablet PCs to smart TVs that give us the productivity tools we require to carry out our daily duties on demand.

Unfortunately, I don’t see a future for 3 minute boot times nor software that will save 36 seconds, instead we are already beginning to see a change in platform where what we need is there on demand. This is the future.

If your computer is running slow, yes try Soluto, but also start to consider a device that might suit your workflow better such as a tablet PC.