Save the Wait, Use Auto-Start

I've leaned to be patient while my computer is starting up. It was difficult. I've finally accepted that after I see my name on the login screen, type my password and hit Enter, I'll be waiting another thirty seconds or so for a flipping hourglass (PC) or a colored wheel (Mac) to finish before I can launch the programs I want to use.

During this wait, I know that the computer is busy -putting things in place, setting up my environment on the screen, but there's no way to know how long I'm going to have to wait before I can launch a program. During start-ups is when my computer seems most sluggish -when I'm raring to jump into some productive computing. If I've had my morning coffee then the wait can be excruciating.

It is during this unavoidable delay that many people begin to frantically click icons and menus to launch their favorite programs without realizing that the computer hasn't finished starting yet. I've seen people actually click icons with a spinning hourglass again and again because the computer seems to have ignored their first click(s). When the computer catches up, each of their mouse clicks is executed, launching multiple instances of programs that pop up all over the screen. Then they accuse the computer of acting "funny" because of the phantom programs it launched.

Your computer really does "get" the first click. It may not give you instant feedback, but with some patience, you'll see that the program you want opens just fine -by and by.

I have several of my regular programs running on my computer all the time. My email (MS Outlook), my browser (Mozilla Firefox -which I love more than Internet Explorer, but that's another article for another week), my Blackberry sync program, Windows Explorer for managing my files, and MS Word for writing. When my computer starts, I want these programs to open ASAP.

I've eliminated my over-anxious clicking problem by using a tool available on both Windows PCs and Macs. It's a way to automatically launch your favorite programs along with your login as fast as is possible without requiring a single mouse click.

On a PC go to Start > All Programs, right click on the Startup folder and select Open. Place shortcuts to your favorite programs into the startup folder and your computer will open these programs for you as soon as it physically can. Mac users can do the same by using the Login Items icon in System Preferences.

Setting up programs to auto-launch buys time for you to do other things while your computer is starting. When it's time to sit down for work in your favorite programs, they'll be already open. Your computer will be waiting for you -for a change.

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