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I know that under Windows there are multiple ways to get an app to autostart but I can never remember what all of those ways are.

Is there a single unified way to bring up a list of all programs which are set to run themselves at startup and let me disable those I don't want?

I'd prefer something built into Windows. I have Windows 7 Starter. But a free / open source / shareware tool would also be acceptable.


(This time the software I want to prevent from autostarting is: MSN Messenger, Y! Messenger, and Vodaphone Mobile Broadband, which starts whether the dongle is inserted or not. None of these three are in Windows's "Startup" folder.)

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4  
The most complete source of this information, which also has the ability to filter out standard Microsoft services, detect corrupted service files, and disable or remove unwanted startup items of all kinds is autoruns, by the legendary Mark Russinovich and Bryce Cogswell. –  David Schwartz Nov 18 '12 at 6:44

6 Answers 6

up vote 3 down vote accepted

Open the Control Panel, search for "administrative tools" (in the search box in upper right corner) and then open it. Double-click on "System Configuration" and then go to the "Startup" tab.

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Wouldn't Run (Win+R) / msconfig have been quicker than searching in Control Panel? :) –  Karan Nov 19 '12 at 0:19
    
On Windows 8 you can open the Task Manager (cmd: START taskmgr) and go to the "Startup" tab. –  amiregelz Nov 21 '12 at 11:05
    
@Karan: It might be quicker but I figured knowing where it is counted for something too. –  hippietrail Nov 23 '12 at 6:18
    
@hippietrail: I was just pointing out a far quicker way to get to the same place. No one's disputing your right to accept whichever answer you see fit (and there's nothing wrong with the answer in any case). –  Karan Nov 23 '12 at 15:41

Autoruns

From SysInternals (now part of MS), and free: Autoruns for Windows v11.34

It is regularly updated, so check for a new version, quickest is to go to http://sysinternals.com which will redirect you to the right place.

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You can try WhatInStartup, CCleaner or Soluto. All are freeware.

WhatInStartup

Allows you to disable or delete startup entries in the registry and in Windows' scheduled tasks, aside from the 'Startup' folder. WhatInStartup also supports a special "Permanent Disabling" feature - If a program that you previously disabled added itself again to the startup list of Windows, WhatInStartup will automatically detect the change and disable it again.

CCleaner

CCleaner has a simple interface that allows disabling or deletion of startup entries in the registry and in Windows' scheduled tasks, aside from the 'Startup' folder.

Soluto

Soluto can measure the load time of all programs that are set to run on startup, allowing the user to better decide if a program's startup should be disabled or not. It also allows the user to disable the program from startup or delay its startup.

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Go to run (win+r) type in

msconfig

and navigate to startup tab, then untick the startup application you want to get rid of or click disable all to remove all and then click apply and ok restart PC .

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I'm not sure if any of the tools mentioned so far include Windows services that are started automatically, but it might be worth looking at those as well. To view them, open a run prompt and enter services.msc. Anything listed as automatic starts at boot.

Be careful disabling anything here without understanding what it's doing.

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As a universal, foolproof, accurate and almost completely useless answer to your question: Start up your computer and then look at your process list. Provided you've done nothing since booting (and none of the processes close themselves), the processes there will be the processes that are configured to start automatically in any possible way.

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