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Windows 7: Minimal/Custom startup environment(s).

27 Jun 2013   #1

Windows 7 Ultimate x64
Setting up minimal/custom startup environment(s)?

I'm running Win7 Ultimate x64 and was wondering if it's possible to have custom boot options in the boot menu on startup. Basically, I want to have a custom environment for doing certain tasks. Since I do music production/recording, photo editing, gaming, etc., I'd like to have a clean environment just for using those programs only. No other programs/services should be running except those that are needed by those programs. Not even the desktop should load. Maybe network services, but that's it.

Here's an example of what the boot menu would (preferably) look like:

Windows 7 Normal Boot
Windows 7 Custom Boot
Ideally, I'd like to have a command prompt on startup listing program options for what I want to do, or just load a basic desktop with programs I specify to be there.

For instance in the command prompt scenario:

Please select the program you would like to run:

1. Program
2. Program
3. Program
4. Game
5. Game
6. ....
7. ....
8. etc.


1. Programs
2. Games
These are just examples and would probably look a bit different when all is said and done. In essence it would be kind of like running safe mode, except not.

My System SpecsSystem Spec
28 Jun 2013   #2

Microsoft Community Contributor Award Recipient

Windows 7 enterprise 64 bit, Windows 7 Pro 64 bit ,Windows 8 64bit

As far as I know the closest you can get to what your asking for (without illegally modifying windows source code) is clearing the start up folder of all the things you don't want/need there here is a tutorial on how to do that:

Troubleshoot Application Conflicts by Performing a Clean Startup

If this were mac or linux I would tell you to change the run level in the init file but unfortunately as far as I know there is no way to boot directly into a command line like that on windows. the best I can offer is a sample of a batch script I wrote with a similar menu system to what you are looking for that I use as a launcher for various administrative tasks:

@echo off
title Elevated Launcher (%username%)

rem ======================= EDIT ME ============================
rem === You can Add your programs to this list below.       ====
rem === Syntax: Key,Title,Command                           ====
rem ============================================================

set PROGRAM_01=1,Remote Control, goto RC
set PROGRAM_02=2,Console,start mmc c:\Console1.msc
set PROGRAM_03=3,Internet Explorer,start iexplore
set PROGRAM_04=4,Registry Editor,start regedit
set PROGRAM_05=5,Services,start services.msc
set PROGRAM_06=6,Command Prompt, start cmd.exe /T:4F /k title **** Admin Console ****
set PROGRAM_07=7,Reboot System,goto RB
SET PROGRAM_08=8,Power Shell,start powershell_ise
set PROGRAM_09=E,Edit Launcher,start notepad %0
set PROGRAM_10=R,Refresh Launcher,goto verystart
set PROGRAM_11=x,Exit,goto :EOF
set PROGRAM_12=
set PROGRAM_13=
set PROGRAM_14=
set PROGRAM_15=


set Choice=/C 

echo --- Select which program to launch ---
FOR /F "tokens=2-4* delims=_=," %%A IN ('SET PROGRAM_') DO (
    @ECHO %%B] %%C

    set Choice=!Choice!%%B
echo --------------------------------------

choice %Choice%

FOR /F "tokens=2-4* delims=_=," %%A IN ('SET PROGRAM_') DO (
    IF ERRORLEVEL == %%A set program=%%D


goto start

set /p system="Reboot System (C to cancel):"
if %system%==c (
echo Canceled
goto start

echo Attempting to reboot %system%
shutdown /m %system% /r /t 0
choice /t 30 /d N /c YN /m "Ping System?"
if errorlevel=2 goto start
start cmd /c ping %system% -t -4

goto start
rem end of RB

set /p system="RC Hostname (C to cancel):"
if %system%==c (
echo Canceled
goto start
echo Attempting to remote control %system%
start /d "C:\Program Files (x86)\Microsoft Configuration Manager Console\AdminUI\bin\i386\" rc.exe 1 %system%

goto start
rem end of RC
My System SpecsSystem Spec
29 Jun 2013   #3

Win 7 Pro 64-bit 7601

The stuff the guy above said, coupled with making different user accounts, and each user account sees only the programs it wants to use (when you install the programs you select to install them for the Admin and another user and/or follow the advice in this thread), has its own desktop, and whatnot.

So that when you login you have the Admin account, the Musician account, the Gamer account, and whatever.

You can add that batch script at startup of each user running elevated without any prompts by following this tutorial. You can turn on/off services by command line by using these commands. That you can write in that batch file as well.
My System SpecsSystem Spec


 Minimal/Custom startup environment(s).

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