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The first thing most malware does is adding itself to Windows startup, so it would be useful to be notified instantly when something adds itself to the list of startup programs.

Do you know such a tool?

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up vote 1 down vote accepted

Startup Monitor is that kind of tool ...

StartupMonitor is a small utility that runs transparently (it doesn't even use a tray icon) and notifies you when any program registers itself to run at system startup. It prevents annoying programs from registering themselves behind your back.

StartupMonitor does not require Startup Control Panel, but it complements it nicely. When you choose not to allow a program to register itself, the program's entry becomes disabled in Startup Control Panel, so you can go back and enable it later if necessary. StartupMonitor watches the Start Menu's Startup folders and the Run entries in the registry.

StartupMonitor works on all modern versions of Windows through XP. I haven't tried it on Windows Vista yet.

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I tried this. Simple and seems to work well. I tried changing a startup value with msconfig and it alerted me. – Joe Dec 7 '09 at 17:58
From the same site, use the lightweight Startup Control Panel applet to easily configure which programs run at startup. – Rob Kam Dec 7 '09 at 18:34

I've used WinPatrol for years. It monitors changes to things like your Startup folder, the Registry's "CurrentVersion/Run" entries, additions to registered Windows Services, etc.

Winpatrol start up

I think I'll also take a look at @NT's suggestion, Startup Monitor. It's always good to look at alternatives. :)

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Anvir Taskmanager Free alerts on new startups, block undesired startup programs (to name but one of many features).

Free and Portable editions are available from the download section.

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Thanks. I wanted to skip this because of the annoying Buy link, but now I"ll give it a try. – Joe Dec 7 '09 at 18:28
that's why i posted the direct link, there are quite a number of interesting features added to the Pro version, but the free version will suffice for most users. – Molly7244 Dec 7 '09 at 19:31

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