Oct
22
2010

[Review] Startup Defender

This is a review of the Software product Startup Defender, developed by Zards Software.

System Requirements:

Windows XP / Vista / 7
No other information supplied by the developer

Price:

Normally $19.95 (USD), but you can get it free for a limited time from Giveaway Of The Day.com!

Software description as per the developer:
(Note: Developer software descriptions are copied directly from the developer’s websites, so all spelling and grammar mistakes are taken in context)

Startup Defender is a small Windows startup manager program that sits in your Windows tray and constantly monitors in real time the startup locations on your PC to help prevent programs from auto starting up behind your back. If a program tries to write itself into any startup location Startup Defender will pop up a windows and ask if the program is allowed to place itself to start automatically with Windows. Also you can disable/enable any programs that are currently installed to startup automatically. If there is an entry you are not sure what it is then you can Google it to see if it is needed or even harmful and choose if you want it to load it at startup or not. For the annoying programs that try to repeatedly place themselves in the autorun for Windows you can click the auto block so that Startup Defender stops them without you having to bother with them anymore. Also you can now view all processes and services then selectively start/stop each one.


[easyreview title=”The Ratings for Startup Defender” cat1title=”Ease of Use” cat1detail=”Pretty much point-and-click. What could be simpler?” cat1rating=”5″ cat2title=”Performance” cat2detail=”Does what it claims to do, with minimal footprint on computer resources” cat2rating=”5″ cat3title=”Usefulness” cat3detail=”It does everything it says, but there are a lot of tools on the market these that can do all this program does AND more.” cat3rating=”2.5″ cat4title=”Price” cat4detail=”$19.95 seems fair at first, but when other programs offer the same functionality as this program for free, AND you can find programs that do a LOT more for at minimum three dollars more, it’s really a rip-off.” cat4rating=”0″ overall=”false”]

Full Review

Startup Defender is designed to help its users monitor their system’s start-up locations and manage them, for example by changing what programs start when your computer starts, when and in which order. These are useful tools for any computer user, as managing the startup can not only make sure your computer has everything you use the most often available to you from the start; but also, if you properly manage and arrange the start-up process, it can speed up the process and let you get to work quicker.

Startup Defender’s user interface is quite simplistic, with the functionality split across two tabs. The first tab allows you to view the Startup Programs, and the second Processes / Services. We’ll cover both in turn, starting with the Startup Programs tab. This tab is designed to display items stored in both the Registry and the Startup Menu. For each item in the list, you are shown what the program is, where it is found on your computer, and its Registry String (the latter is for those with a more technical mind). Also, at the bottom of the page, you can see detailed information for every program, like Program Name, Program Version, Original File Name, Company Name, Comments or Copyright (specific details that are attached to programs). Clicking a program will bring up a “ProgInfo” window with the same information.

The interface also has a “Google It” option, so if Startup Defender can’t tell you anything about an entry, you can click it and choose this option to search for information on Google. Annoyingly, however, it seems to default to using the Australian Google page rather than the standard Google.com or the appropriate regional version, and there appears to be no option to change this – I consider this a poor choice on the developer’s behalf.

You also have the option to add a new program to the Start-up, so if there is one you use often, you can have it start up as soon as the computer does. This is done through the “Add Entry” window. You are given the option to have it only count for yourself, or for all the users on your computer; and you can also set it to be a permanent entry, or a one-time deal. One quite glaring omission, however, is that the program gives no option to add a delay between items, despite this being supported by windows itself and many other Start-up managers giving this as a possibility. This means that if you were to add an item using Startup Defender, or edit an existing item, then after everything before it had been started, the program would be started immediately – there is no way to add a wait, which could slow down the computer if the program is very intensive.

The second tab is Process / Services. These are protocols that are used to run things on your computer that may not be programs in themselves, but may be essential to running other programs or providing vital Windows features. This tab is slightly more dangerous than the other tab, and should not really be touched unless you are really sure of what you’re doing, because the system can suffer massive changes after restart if you change it, and you could even cause some real damage. On the left panel, there is the active Process List, which shows you all the Processes currently running, the amount of Memory Used by them and their ID. On the right tab, there is the Service List, which gives details such as the name and type of each service, and whether they are running or not. The user can Start, Pause, Resume or Stop each service. This is really all the general faire you’d expect from a Process/Services manager, so there’s not really much to say about this area.

One final feature of Startup Defender is the small icon it adds to the System Tray, from where the user can stop or start monitoring startup locations – effectively turning the program on and off, without closing it down.


Verdict

Though Startup Defender is not a bad program in its own right, considering that you can get everything this program does elsewhere for free, and it doesn’t cost much more to get more comprehensive programs that do everything this does and more, it simply isn’t worth its $19.95 price point, no matter how cheap that may seem. Avoid!

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