I'm currently trying to rid a Windows 10 computer of all unnecessary automatic startup programs, because it had problems with being terribly slow even without starting any programs manually. One such program appeared to be Skype, which somehow manages to avoid being listed in the Task Manager "Startup" tab. So, I tried looking for other ways to find startup programs.

To get a full list, I found recommendations to use Autoruns for Windows, which is a Microsoft product, so I'd expect them to make something that knows their own system. Turns out, Microsoft is unable to detect their own programs' startup status. Even though Skype does automatically start up on boot (I can call skype without first starting it, and it does immediately ring after booting the PC), the Autoruns program doesn't detect it at all (I couldn't find it manually, nor did filtering to 'skype' result in anything).

This concerns me a bit, because if Microsoft is able to make something that avoids all detection, how can I be sure there's nothing else more malicious that can do that?

So my question is in short: In what location could I look to make an actual exhaustive list of all programs that start on boot, including programs like Skype?

Edit: I am not looking to disable Skype from its internal settings, I want to be 100% sure that nothing is able to start itself without permissions. Disabling Skype only solves this problem for Skype, but eventual malware ending up on my pc would then perhaps also fly under the radar. I'm using Skype as an example of what is possible for something to do, so I want something other than Skype itself to stop it from starting.

  • You already found an exhaustive list of all startup items using autoruns. You’re making inaccurate claims that Skype is avoiding your detection. Instead, the answer is you are looking in the wrong place or for the wrong item. You’ve incorrectly assumed that the only way Skype could start is going to be by some startup item called “Skype.” First, are you talking about Skype, or Skype for Business which is actually called “lync?” If you’re determined to find what is starting it, try first to disable all startup items. See what happens. – Appleoddity Dec 8 '18 at 22:24
  • @appleoddity I'm actually talking about regular Skype, just the one for home computers. I have both manually scrolled through all items, and used the filter option, to look for Skype in the list, but both times I did not find anything regarding Skype at all. Do you happen to know under what name Skype is supposed to be listed in Autoruns? – joeytje50 Dec 9 '18 at 12:15
  • Have you gone in to tools -> options -> general settings and turned off “start Skype when I start windows?” – Appleoddity Dec 9 '18 at 14:57
  • Upon further research it appears you are probably running the UWP version of Skype instead of the full blown Skype application. Is there a reason you are running that version? Would you be opposed to uninstalling the app version and downloading the full version? – Appleoddity Dec 9 '18 at 15:02

It appears we are probably talking about the Skype UWP version which is downloaded and installed via the Windows Store.

Windows Apps run in the background to display notifications to the user. The process to turning them off is a little different.

Click Start then Settings then Privacy. Select the Background Apps option. Here, identify the application you would like to turn on or off and adjust the slider to do so.

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