Tuesday, September 2, 2008

To disable Startup Programs


Virtually all applications you install using the default installation these days decide that they should start-up when Windows starts. If you allow these to take control, you can end up with a situation where (unless you have sufficient memory installed) every other program slows down to be unusable.

The reason for this is that all of these programs use a portion of the system memory and resources which leaves a smaller percentage for other programs once they're opened. On my old system for example, prior to tweaking I had 33 programs running at start-up with the system resources at 59% and Windows took an age before it was ready for use. Post tweaking I had a mere 10, with system resources back to 92% and Windows was up and running within a minute.


Win9x/Me/2K/XP/Vista users:

Use the "System Configuration Utility" (MSCONFIG) to identify startup programs. MSCONFIG is available for all Win9x/Me/2K/XP/Vista users

You invoke it by clicking Start then Run. In the Open box, type msconfig.exe followed by enter. Once displayed, click on the "Startup" tab. You will see a list of items and the 2 columns that we're interested in are "Name" (ME) or "Startup Item" (XP/Vista) and "Command". For Win98 the columns aren't named but the one on the left is the equivalent of "Name" and the one on the right is the equivalent of "Command":





Note that with all of these you can expand the width of each column by holding down the left mouse button with the cursor on the vertical line between the column headings (where applicable) and then dragging the mouse either left or right before releasing. With the XP & Vista versions (for which the window cannot be re-sized) you can also double-click on the vertical line between two column headings to maximize the column width.

NT users:

Use a free utility from SysInternals (now taken under the Micrsoft TechNet umbrella) called AutoRuns which displays all the startup locations. Highlight an item and click on "Jump to" and it will take you to the appropriate startup location, including the registry keys where appropriate:

If the registry editor is opened (REGEDIT), you will see a list of items and the 2 columns I'm interested in are "Name" and "Data":


To disable Startup Programs