Saturday, April 12, 2008

How to stop programs from running at Windows startup

I recently reviewed Startup Monitor 1.02, a program that allows you to stop programs from registering themselves to run at system startup. I've since had several questions concerning what to do about programs that have already installed themselves to run at system startup. So this review is about how to use several commonly available free software programs to control which programs run at system startup.

Spybot Search and Destroy

Spybot Search and Destroy Advanced Menu Mode

This excellent spyware detection and removal program comes with a built-in system startup utility. You just may not have found it yet - To run the system startup utility in Spybot Search and Destroy:

1. Run Spybot Search and Destroy
2. From the top menu bar, choose Mode > Advanced
3. This enables a small menu in the lower-left-hand corner of the screen - You'll miss it if you don't look closely (see the screenshot above).
4. From this new menu, click on the + sign beside Tools. This expands the Tools menu.
5. Now, from the expanded Tools menu, click on System Startup.
6. This brings up a list of all the programs on your PC that have ever been set to run at system startup. Any program which has a green check mark in the left-hand column is set to run at startup. To stop a program from running at startup, clear the green check mark by clicking on it. When you are through making changes, just close Spybot Search and Destroy and your changes will be saved.

What I like about using Spybot Search and Destroy for startup control, is that it keeps track of programs set to run at startup even after you disable them - you can go back later and re-enable a program to run at startup. This is very useful if you disable something that you needed. Another thing is that the resident portion of Spybot Search and Destroy, if enabled, will warn you when a program tries to set itself to run at startup, and allow you to deny it from doing so.

Full review and download link for Spybot Search and Destroy.

Ccleaner

Ccleaner startup control

Another good Windows cleanup utility that allows you to control system startup values. To use Ccleaner startup control:

1. Start Ccleaner.
2. Click on Tools in the left-hand column.
3. From the Tools menu, click on Startup.
4. This brings up a list which shows all the programs set to run at system startup.
5. To stop a program from running at startup, highlight the program by clicking on it's filename, then press the Delete button.
6. When through making changes, close Ccleaner and your changes will be saved.

Full review and download link for Ccleaner.

EasyCleaner 2.0

EasyCleaner Startup Control

I've just recently become aware of this excellent PC cleanup utility (thanks to Matthew for bringing it to my attention). One of the many utilities included with EasyCleaner is a startup manger. To use it to control which programs run at startup:

1. Start EasyCleaner.
2. Click on the Startup icon.
3. This brings up a window listing all programs set to run at startup. To remove an entry, highlight it and press the Delete button.
4. When through making changes, close the Startup program, close EasyCleaner, and your changes will be saved.

I've yet to do a full review of EasyCleaner - look for one soon. In the meantime, you can download EasyCleaner 2.0 here.

After using any one of these programs to make changes to system startup programs, restart your PC to see the changes reflected - hopefully you've gained back a whole bunch of system resources!

The Bottom Line...

As mentioned earlier, I prefer using Spybot Search and Destroy to manage startup items because it tracks changes. But it's also the most complicated to use. I would recommend it if you want more control over Windows startup programs, but I wouldn't download it just for this purpose - if you need more spyware protection, then by all means download it and use it for startup control as an added bonus. Ccleaner and EasyCleaner are equally easy to use for startup control, so if that's really all you need to do, I would download one of these. If one of them is already on your system, so much the better!

1 comments:

PAT said...

Oh.What an excellent solution.Man keep doing what you are gifted on.You are indeed an helper.Thanks.

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