When trying to find his Startup folder, Mr Stunt gets no further than the Dell Dock. We explain how easy it is to disable so that it no longer launches with Windows
Q I have a Dell Inspiron 545 computer with Windows 7 Home Edition installed. It seems to take an extremely long time to start up.
From what I’ve read elsewhere, a solution to this problem is to access the Startup folder on the Start menu and remove any unwanted entries so that these programs no longer start with Windows.
However, the problem is that when I try to do this, something called ‘Dell Dock’ appears on the screen and I seem unable to get any further.
Can you tell me how to get around this and how to access the Startup folder so I can begin reducing the number of programs that load on startup?
A Like many computer manufacturers, Dell pre-installs all sorts of extra software on to new PCs. Some of these are useful, while others are simply unwanted and exist solely for the manufacturer’s benefit (and often are installed as a result of alliances with other companies, rather than for the user’s good).
We’re not going to pass judgment on the usefulness of Dell Dock, but there’s no doubt that, like other programs that launch at the same time as Windows, it will have a detrimental effect on a PC’s performance.
Also, as you’ve found, Dell Dock can be quite invasive, asserting itself in places you would rather it didn’t.
Fortunately, it’s easy to disable. When Dell Dock appears on screen, right-click on any part of it and point to Advanced settings on the pop-up menu. In the submenu that appears, click to remove the tick from the ‘Run at startup’ box.
Now restart your PC and Dell Dock will no longer launch with Windows. To launch the program in the future, click Start, then point to All Programs, followed by Dell, then click Dell Dock.
With Dell Dock safely out of the way, you should have access to any part of Windows. To view what’s in the Startup folder, for example, click Start, then point to All Programs, followed by Startup.
If you’re not sure what particular programs in this folder are or do, it is worth doing a bit of online research before removing them, because you don’t want to eliminate useful stuff. Simply use a search engine such as Google to look up the program’s name and then see what others have to say about it.
When you’re happy that you no longer want a particular program to launch with Windows, access the Startup folder as before, but this time right-click on an unwanted entry and choose Delete. When the confirmation message appears, click Yes to go ahead.
Deleting entries from the Startup folder doesn’t actually remove the related program from your PC – it simply removes the shortcut that allows the application to launch with Windows.
If you want to uninstall unwanted programs from your computer to free up the disk space they occupy, in Windows 7 click Start, choose Control Panel, and then click the ‘Uninstall a program’ link below the Programs heading.
Find the offending program in the displayed list, click to highlight it, then click the Uninstall button and follow the prompts.
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