Update: I have an even better startlet for stopping and starting services in my comments.

If you’re running Vista, run, don’t walk, and go download and install Start++ (thanks to Omar Shahine for turning me on to this). Make it the first thing you do. Many thanks to Brandon Paddock who developed this nice little tool. He describes the tool in this post.

I have a message for Start++ from the Start menu. “You complete me!”.

Ok, terribly corny jokes aside, it’s the little things that save me lots of time in the long run. For example, starting and stopping SQL server is kind of annoying for me on Vista. Here’s my the typical workflow.

  1. Hit Windows Key, type in cmd
  2. type net stop mssql
  3. Doh! System error 1060 occurred. Right, I need to be an administrator.
  4. Grab the trackball
  5. Click on the Start menu
  6. Right click Command Prompt
  7. Click Run as administrator.
  8. Now type net stop mssql.

Is your hand hurting by now? Because mine is.

Of course, I’m an idiot. Or, I was an idiot. Now, I’ve mapped the Start++ keywords startsql and stopsql to automatically run the commands I need with elevated privileges.

Click for larger image.


Notice you can check the Run elevated checkbox for any command. Yes, I get the UAC prompt (Yes, I still have that sucker on), but that’s not such a big deal to me. Now my workflow is reduced to:

  1. Hit Windows Key, type in stopsql
  2. Hit the Left Arrow Key and Enter when the UAC prompt comes up.


For your convenience, I’ve exported the startsql and stopsql “startlets” and put them on my company’s tools site here. I figure this one alone saves me a few seconds every half hour.

If you are using a named instance of SQL Server, you will need to change the argument in the Arguments column like so:

/C "net start mssql$NameOfInstance"

I have a few hundred or so startlets I can think of adding. Happy shortcutting!