>I assume any chances to auto-gen code will get stamped over, plus it would
>be a major pain in the a$$ to fix this for every page
I change the auto-gen code in this case. It hasn't ever lost my changes. Some people say this change gets undone by VS, but I have never seen that myself.
It's not terribly hard to switch the order of 2 statements on every page. You're going to do a lot more work than that to each new page you write.
This all changes in ASP.NET 2.0. They have an improved model for handling identity and user personalization. The new master page concept also simplies this type of code by eliminating the user controls for things like the header and footer of each page. As I mentioned before, ThePhile in ASP.NET 2.0 could have a lot fewer lines of code, and still have more functionality.
However, this same code will still compile and run correctly under 2.0. It would require a fundamental redesign to get most of the big advantages of 2.0.