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On a virgin out-of-the-box Windows machine, and before making any Internet connection, if I wish to remove or disable any applications that might run without my explicit consent, is it sufficient to examine only the services and startup items in MSCONFIG, and the scheduled tasks in Task Scheduler, to identify all software that might run without me explicitly telling it to run?

Are there any other locations identifying or controlling automatic software execution on the box?

(Remember, this is for a new and unused machine, so I'm not asking about stealthy software that might be subsequently installed and try to hide it's location or invocation.)

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It's almost impossible to make a complete list. (What counts as "explicit"? If you right-click a file, do the menu extensions count as "explicitly started"?) Also, since you state "this is for a new and unused machine", then why ask this question at all? After all, on a new Windows installation there is nothing except components of Windows itself. – grawity Aug 21 '11 at 18:30
I think he is talking about all the bundled software that is included with his windows installation. It sounds like he is trying to figure out what he can or can't disable. – MaQleod Aug 21 '11 at 18:49
up vote 7 down vote accepted

Autoruns from Microsoft may be what you need. It should include all possible locations.

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Add installations jobs to the list. Some viruses add themselves to startup install list. Remember the setups which need to reboot to PC to complete the rest of the setup at the beginning.

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