Chuck - I think you're getting a bit caught up on the terminology. Let's clear the air a bit:
First... Opus runs as a background process (dopus.exe). The options on the Prefs->Startup page you showed a screenshot of control just what happens only when this process is started for the first time after either:
- the system reboots, and depending on how you have set the Launch Directory Opus automatically on system startup option, the process will either start automatically or only after you click on a shortcut to Directory Opus once.
- you may have shutdown the dopus.exe process (or it crashed)... which closing any open 'lister' (which is just a name for an Opus 'window') does NOT do. Shutting down the dopus process can be done by clicking RMB on the opus system tray icon (if it's enabled) and selecting 'Exit' or by killing the dopus.exe process like any other in Windows Task Manager.
In this respect, Opus is like Explorer, where Explorer is also always 'running' in the background without necessarily having any explorer windows open. Subsequent clicks of an Explorer shortcut opens a new Explorer window, the same with Opus. Likewise, closing a 'lister/window' does not shut down the whole process... just the window. But unlike Explorer, Opus allows you to configure whether or not an opus 'window/lister' is opened when the 'process' starts. Further, opening a window/lister can be based on the various other options on this Prefs page.
Most people I know have Opus set to start automatically when the system starts along with the Don't open any Listers option selected. This way, as soon as Windows starts, no lister is opened but you can still click on either an opus shortcut, double-click the desktop or tray icon, or use a hotkey combo to launch a new lister/window or perform any other hotkey commands. If the Opus process is NOT running in the background, the desktop and hotkey functionality will not work.
I would go this way for NOW, until you get used to the implications of lister layouts, styles, and the other things discussed in this thread. Keep in mind the way a lister looks when you first open one is based in some way on the options on the Prefs->Layout page. The layout settings that are applied are based on either an invisible 'Default Lister' layout, a layout you can manually configure, save and assign a name to, or based on options you set among the various other tabs of the Prefs->Layout page. I think Ken has the right idea in suggesting you use a custom layout... but still leaves some room for confusion depending on HOW you open listers? Do you normally click on an opus shortcut, double-click the desktop, tray icon, or use a hotkey combo?
Let's get your use of Layouts cleared up - and if you have trouble with getting layouts working, reiterate what steps you've followed, what options you've set, what you WANT or expect to happen, and where things go wrong. A few of your posts have not described exactly what has been NOT working the way you'd like so it's tough to offer specific advice other than just babble on with long explanations of how I think stuff works .