I ran into a similar issue. The following is the solution that worked on my Windows Vista Ultimate (32).
I made sure that the Circle Dock was unzipped and the folder was placed in my Programs file (c:/Program Files/CircleDock0.9.2Alpha8.2)
Once this file is created and the files are in place. I made a shortcut of the CircleDock.exe file.
Right click CircleDock.exe and click on "Create Shortcut" towards the bottom of the context menu
I cut and pasted this file to the startup file in the Start Menu.
Anything that you currently have in the Startup Folder related to CircleDock, remove it first. ANy shortcuts or exe's that currently exist, delete them before proceeding!You will not just want to copy the shortcut, or drag and drop the shortcut, this will not work properly in Vista!!! you will want to cut and paste the shortcut!!!
I right clicked the "CircleDock.exe-shortcut", and clicked "cut"
In order to get the shortcut to properly paste in the "startup" menu, I had to open start menu, click all programs, scroll down to "startup", right click the folder, and open/click "Explore".
Once the window came up I right clicked in the in the Startup open window field and clicked "paste", you may also go to edit, and then click paste (if you have your menu's enabled.
Now I got the UAC usual acceptance windows and the requiring admin privilege requests (Just a couple of clicks), you may not experience this.
Once the shortcut was placed, I right clicked on the CirckeDock.exe-Shortcut and checked the properties.
The properties windows should have the following information in the "Shortcut" tab:
Target: "C:\Program Files\CircleDock0.9.2Alpha8.2\CircleDock.exe"
Start in: "C:\Program Files\CircleDock0.9.2Alpha8.2"
Now I use Spybot S&D, so I had to make an exception for the entry (placing the shortcut in the Startup folder will create a "startonboot" registry entry)
I also had to make a trusted profile in my firewall (in my case, I use Comodo Firewall)
Check any anti-virus software, to ensure that the program is not restricted. (I did not have this problem. I use Threatfire and AVG, But a friend using Nortins 360, did, so an exception had to be created)
Prior to rebooting your system, check the following settings in CircleDock:
Turn on CircleDock. Right click, and bring up the settings.
In the general Tab/Settings, make sure that the "Enable Portability Mode" is NOT checked, if it is; clear the check box. Close Settings.
Reboot your system. Now hopefully CircleDock will come up during boot
Now there may be one last issue to check after booting (if CircleDock did not start)
The last check was in "Windows Defender",
now I checked to make sure that the program had "rights" to start at boot up.
The quickest way I know of to get to these properties:
Start Menu > Control Panel > Control Panel Home > (under "Programs") Change startup programs.
Once this window comes up:
Make sure that the "Category" says "Startup Programs"
In the list look for "Eric Wong" and/or CircleDock
Click on CircleDock, and look to the lower right of the this window and ensue that the "enable" Button is greyed out. If it is not, click "enable". Click the "Refresh" Button and double check that the CircleDock is enabled.
Reboot your system.
I hope this assists, and corrects your issue.
If not, I am at the end of the assistance that I can provide.