When a workstation boots, in most cases more than just the operating system starts.You’ve probably configured the workstation to start virus checkers, remote control software, or other third-party programs. Additionally, you’ve probably configured login scripts to execute when the user logs in to the network. Finally, there’s the StartUp folder that stores programs that should start when the user logs in.

But what about when the user logs off?With group policies, you can set a logoff script that executes command line utilities when a user logs off. But what about a logoff version of the StartUp folder? Now you’ve got one in the form of Shutdown Folder Lite.

What’s Shutdown Folder Lite?
Shutdown Folder Lite is freeware from HSLab. It allows you to execute programs on a user’s machine when the user shuts down his or her computer. For example, you can place a program in the shutdown folder that erases all of the temporary files on the computer when a user shuts it down.

Windows 2000 Professional and Windows XP allow you to create Logoff scripts and control their execution by either local or domain group policies. Even so, these scripts can be cumbersome to create and kind of kludgey to use when just executing a few programs. And for Windows 9x workstations, you can create a batch file to execute programs and shut down your system, but this is equally inelegant.

Shutdown Folders Lite creates a special shutdown folder that works just like the Windows Startup folder. Drop the icon of the program you want to execute in the Shutdown folder and it executes when the user shuts down the system. You can use it to do such things as delete temporary files, copy files back to the network, run disk checks, send logoff messages to people on the network, or whatever you want.

HSLabmakes a full-featured version of Shutdown Folder Lite called Shutdown Folder. The full version of Shutdown folder will automatically clear out temporary and Internet files, clear print jobs, and blank out My Recent Documents. Shutdown Folder is licensed on a sliding scale starting at $39.95. The more you buy, the more you save. You can find out more about licensing costs and features at HSLab’s Shutdown Folder Web site.

Obtaining and installing Shutdown Folder Lite
You also can get the free Shutdown Folder Lite from the HSLab Web site. The file you’ll download, Hslab-shutdown-folder-lite.exe, is just under 2 MB in size, so it won’t take very long to download. When the program finishes downloading, execute it to begin the installation process.

Shutdown Folder Lite’s Setup program works just like every Setup wizard you’ve ever used. Follow the on screen prompts. You won’t encounter any gotchas. At the end of Setup, you can start the Administrator program.

Running Shutdown Folder Lite
The Administrator program allows you to start and stop the folder service. To make the program work, you should enable the following check boxes:

  • Enable Shutdown Folder Actions
  • Start Service With Windows
  • Process Before Logoff As Well
  • Accelerate Shutdown Automatically

Click Apply and then close the Administrator.

To add an item to the folder, click Start | Programs | Shutdown Folder.You’ll see that the folder itself is empty at first. Right-click the Shutdown Folder menu item and select Open. Drag and drop the programs you want to be executed on shut down, and you’re done. You may need to create a .CMD or .BAT file along with a Windows icon for it if there’s something special you want to do, but other than that, you’re ready to go!