Capster: enable or disable startup programs in real time using Caps Lock as a hotkey


Capster is a free, tiny utility that allows you to modify any particular startup program or programs that auto-start with Windows such that they only launch on startup if the Caps Lock key is toggled On or Off.

Generally speaking one of the things that I often do and frequently recommend is to manage the programs that start automatically with Windows and limit these to the bare-bones minimum (using for example a program like Starter).

This will guarantee that as more and more programs are added to your system they do not unnecessarily load up at once on startup, slowing down the boot process and unnecessarily overloading your system resources.

Of course, there is a price to pay for doing this: some programs would at times be desirable as startup programs, but maybe not at all times (depending on how you are going to use your system). Wouldn’t it be great if there was an easy way to control whether some programs automatically start with Windows such that they load only when you need them? This is exactly what Capster provides.

What Capster allows you to do is add “modified” shortcuts to your startup folder such that these applications only load on startup if the user allows them to do so by pressing the Caps Lock button (or, conversely, only if the Caps Lock button is not pressed, depending on your preference). The following is a quick’n dirty guide on how to use this software:

  1. Use a startup programs management software to determine the items that currently launch on startup (I use Starter). Find the startup entries you would like to control with Capster; note the path to these because you will need it, then disable them.
  2. Capster screenshot startup folderRun Capster and point it to the desired executables. You will need to specify whether you want these to run on Caps on or Caps Off. Capster will automatically place these shortcuts in your startup folder.
  3. Caps on vs. Caps off: there is a subtle difference. Caps on will force you to intervene every time to get these programs to launch on startup, so that the default is that they will not. Caps off will require your intervention only if you do NOT want them to start with Windows, such that the default is that they will.
  4. That’s it. Press (or unpress) Caps Lock next time you boot or log-on to load the correct programs.

More notes on this software:

  • Portable: unzip and run
  • Creates modified shortcuts in the startup folder. You can delete these and replace them with the original program shortcuts to revert to the normal state.

The verdict: this is one of those programs where I imagine some people will be extremely excited about while others will have no use for. Either way it scores extremely high points in my book for originality and innovation. Oh, and did I mention that it works really well?

Compatibility: WinAll.

Go to the program page to download the latest version (a mere 10K).