Switch Between Startup Configuration Profiles With StartupSelector [Windows]

Craig Snyder 27-07-2012

windows startup profilesI’m a little old-fashioned in the sense that I prefer to use my desktop computer when it comes to just about anything online. No laptops or tablets for me, just a nice comfortable seat at a desk and a powerful desktop that can get me through the day and then some. One problem with using a single computer so regularly is that it can be a little tough to transition between “modes.” For example, I use my computer for work-related things, to keep in touch with friends over social networks, and to play online games. For each single purpose, I require certain programs to be running and others not to be.


One of the easiest ways that I’ve been able to make this transition as simple and painless as possible is by booting into a new startup profile. Just load my configuration, restart my computer, and all of the startup items that I need will be there. I won’t have to spam through the Task Manager closing lots of windows, and that’s a huge benefit.

Download StartupSelector

As described very simply on their official website:

StartupSelector will save or load the Windows configuration data that causes programs to run at system startup. This allows you to easily switch between multiple startup configurations, for a myriad of potential purposes.

StartupSelector is a tiny little portable application by Mike Lin, one of the most recognized names in tiny little portable application development, that gets the job done.

windows startup profiles

Upon starting the application, you’ll see that a description for your current startup configuration has been conveniently prepopulated for you. If you’d like to be more on the safe side and quickly save your current configuration, just click the OK button. Otherwise, you can rename it to whatever you’d like. Be advised that StartupSelector does not support functionality to delete these configurations, if that should concern you at all.


When you want to load a configuration, you’ll notice all saved profiles in the dropdown menu beside that option.

switch windows startup

Just select it, click OK, then hit the Close button. It’s very important that you hit that button rather than close the application any other way. I’ve had problems with it loading and saving profiles otherwise. If you haven’t saved a backup, it may alert you that it is strongly advised to.

You can create and save several profiles without needing to restart your computer. Save one, go into the System Configuration (MSCONFIG from the Start menu) and go into the Startup tab.


switch windows startup

This is the data that StartupSelector saves and backs up for you. You can make your changes here, apply them, and then save new profiles within StartupSelector all without having to boot around Windows.

windows startup profiles

This tool can be used in all sorts of clever and useful ways and it’s one of my favorite portable software secrets. You can’t go wrong throwing this one on a flash drive. Let me know in the comments what you guys think of StartupSelector and share your ways of using it!


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  1. James Graham
    August 25, 2012 at 3:31 am

    This looks like it would be great for laptops...depending on what you are going to use it at any given time.

  2. Marco Milani
    August 1, 2012 at 11:29 pm

    uhm maybe i will try this one :)

  3. Home Less
    August 1, 2012 at 12:48 pm

    Nice post and useful for me and friends

  4. SWayneMartin
    July 29, 2012 at 5:42 pm

    I used to obsess over my startup applications back when we had computers with very limited resources. Back then I would have loved this utility.

    Today with even cheap computers running 4 cores and 8+Gigabytes of RAM I don't much worry about it. If I find a background process that is consistently using more CPU or memory than I think it should, it goes in the trash bin permanently. I have no tolerance for badly written code.

  5. Jonny Roder
    July 29, 2012 at 11:38 am

    Thanks for your explanation!

  6. Shubham
    July 28, 2012 at 11:42 am

    should it change whole deskhtop view.??

    • Craig Snyder
      July 29, 2012 at 1:08 pm

      It only changes the programs that start with Windows, nothing on your desktop.

  7. Rutul Parikh
    July 27, 2012 at 3:22 pm

    That is nice program. But I usually use msconfig. I was thinking that MS should provide configuration while installing Windows like, if the pc will ever be connected to the internet or not. If not, then shutting all useless network update services and network discovery services to speed up system. This type of user friendly tweaks would really become helpful to the people.

  8. Shehan Nirmal
    July 27, 2012 at 2:01 pm

    I never heard about a software that can make changes at the startup... I'd love to try this as soon as I got my new laptop... Thanks to MakeUseOf...

  9. Phúc Ng?c
    July 27, 2012 at 8:57 am

    Good to know for geeks that often tweak their Windows.

  10. Elaheh Sadegh
    July 27, 2012 at 4:24 am

    I've never been around to change or care about the startup , I always use the same setting . but it sounds good to try it on laptop with which work both at home and at work.