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