Every time you boot your computer, there’s a series of applications that start automatically. It may be Skype, it may be Adobe or Chrome Updaters, OneDrive or DropBox, applications or services that sit in the background and there’s good reason for some of these to boot every single time.
In Windows 8, the Task Manager added a Startup tab which allows users to quickly disable any of these, given the option to disable this auto-launch is sometimes difficult to find in the preferences of each application.
The problem with this solution is that it’s a global, enable or disable, you either let it start or you don’t, it’s a dumb feature. I don’t mean that it’s not useful, it absolutely is, but it doesn’t offer the granularity that necessary to really configure your system for everyday scenarios.
If you’re at work, between the hours of 9-5 on a weekday, then let Skype for Business auto launch. If it’s outside that time, like on a weekend, you don’t need to be available for work colleagues, then it should be disabled.
This kind of change could be implemented as a new feature of the upcoming Windows 10, that would actually fix a real workflow problem, but sadly Microsoft seem to be more focused on working on the start menu than a refinement to an existing feature like this, that would have big impact on the way you work.
Configuring the app schedules could be added at the API level and allow applications developers to configure how the app responds during installation. Given not all apps would adopt this, a right-click and schedule option from the Startup tab of the Task Manager would also work.
When I look at the system-wide configuration of something like audio, that allows you to reduce the volume of other applications to a set % during a call, this same understanding of context should be applied in other areas.
If I’m in an active Skype session, then OneDrive should stop syncing files to allow the maximum bandwidth to be attributed to the live communication. When the call ends, OneDrive’s sync engine would detect that and resume syncing. The same theory applies to background services like Adobe installing updates to Creative Suite.
There’s so many way Windows could be improved that sadly aren’t being touched in Windows 10. This is disappointing given the leap in version numbers is supposed to represent a massive leap forward, but after using Windows 10 for a relatively short period of time, new begins to feel old (or at least comfortable) again.
In an ideal world, Microsoft would buy IFTTT and integrate it at the OS level. This would given them a huge leap forward in terms of home automation, but more importantly have the capacity to schedule Windows to work for you and avoid repetitive tasks like shutting down background or auto-starting applications daily.