I want to manually remove a certain program from starting automatically, and I cannot find a "Startup" folder any more.

The program I am referring to is uTorrent, if this will help.


6 Answers 6


There are several places to look in Windows XP for programs that start automatically:

  1. Locations on the hard drive. (note that these change for Windows 7/Vista)
    • %AllUsersProfile%\Start Menu\Startup
    • %UserProfile%\Start Menu\Startup
  2. Locations in the registry. To edit the registry, press Win + R, type regedit, and hit enter. Be careful not to change any settings other than the ones you're specifically looking for here, as a lot of important system info is stored in the registry, and changing it can break things.
    • HKey_Local_Machine\Software\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Run*
    • HKey_Current_User\Software\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Run*
  3. Scheduled Tasks (can be scheduled to run at logon). The google updater is a good example. Scheduled tasks can be set/changed in the Control Panel.
  4. Services Press Win + R, type services.msc and press enter. Look for potentially unnecessary services set to run Automatically. Make sure not to disable services which are critical to the system though, otherwise your system will become unstable.

Most of these (but not all) are covered by using the msconfig program mentioned in another answer.

I'll also mention the HKey_Local_Machine\Software\Microsoft\Windows NT\CurrentVersion\WinLogon registry key. Here you'll find a shell key that should always be set to "explorer.exe", but it is possible to change it so something else that either replaces explorer.exe or starts another program along with explorer.exe.

* Run, RunOnce, RunServices, etc


The easiest way to remove a program from startup is to do it using msconfig (most apps that are run on startup are not actually started from the Startup folder).

Hit WinKey + R, type msconfig, go to the startup tab and remove the program you don't need. Just don't go crazy with the tool, you might actually need some of the apps from startup; the best way is to research them a bit before removing anything.

  • +1 definitely. You can also use it to control service startups. Go to the Services tab, put a checkmark in Hide all Microsoft services and what's left can be disabled as you see fit. A word of warning: some startup programs fight like crazy to keep their status: Adobe software and Java are two examples of this. You might want to look at the Java applet in the Windows control panel for additional control options.
    – boot13
    Aug 29, 2010 at 1:24
  • Thanks. I tried this. I looked in Start up and in Services - I cannot find the program. The program I am referring to is utorrent, if this will help.
    – Xavierjazz
    Aug 29, 2010 at 13:37

The best program for controlling startups of any type is autoruns.

Just start it up, wait for it to finish scanning, then type ctrl-f and the name of the program to find. If you would like to disable the found program, just uncheck it. F3 will check for the next occurrence of the search string.

If you would like to uninstall it, use Revo Uninstaller Freeware with caution.

  • Why downvote this advice ? It's always best to use a reversible tool, rather than deleting blindly.
    – harrymc
    Aug 28, 2010 at 19:23

μTorrent has an option that controls this:

Options > Preferences > General

Start μTorrent on system startup

Clear this option and μTorrent should remain "off-line" until you start it manually.

  • Thank you ChrisF. +1. However, I went there and it was unchecked??????
    – Xavierjazz
    Aug 29, 2010 at 14:22
  • @Xavierjazz - Ah, try checking it then unchecking it perhaps? You might have to close μTorrent to get this to "take". Unless something else is starting up μTorrent this should work.
    – ChrisF
    Aug 29, 2010 at 14:29
  • I checked it and re-booted, unchecked it and re-booted a couple of times. Still doesn't stop it.
    – Xavierjazz
    Aug 30, 2010 at 1:11

You should see it when you click on the "Start" button and select All Programs.

Actually there are two Startup folders.

Current User: C:\Documents and Settings\%USERNAME%\Start Menu\Programs\Startup

All Users: C:\Documents and Settings\All Users\Start Menu\Programs\Startup

The current user folder only starts programs when that user logs in whereas all users will run regardless of who logs in.

  • Thanks very much, but absolutely no joy. Regards,
    – Xavierjazz
    Aug 29, 2010 at 1:19

There are many different ways to get a program to start. The best solution is to use something like AutoRuns. There are several similar versions out there.

One that I final settled on was Winpatrol. Winpatrol has the advantage of not only letting you set what starts automatically, but if something tries to change it, it will warn you and let you accept or not accept it.


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