Microsoft Autoruns

Does your PC take forever to start?

The tool most often recommended for zapping unnecessary startup programs and processes is the System Configuration utility run by the command msconfig from the Command Prompt.

There’s an even better utility from Microsoft’s subsidiary SysInternals which you can download free of charge from here: AutoRuns for Windows. It’s a mystery to me why it’s not included as part of the standard Windows installation.

Autoruns screenshotThis program may be used with any version of Windows, including 64-bit editions.

You can find out which processes are hogging resources with Windows Task Manager. If you’re not familiar with it, check check my mistywindow page here. Run it by pressing the key combination Ctrl+Shift+Esc. When you’ve nailed the culprits using Task Manager, run Autoruns to kill them.

The Autoruns program is standalone. It doesn’t have to be installed on your PC using the Windows Installer. Just download the zipped program folder from the link above, unzip it, move the whole unzipped folder to wherever you like on your computer and run it by double clicking on the autoruns.exe file contained in the folder.

You could move the folder into your C:Program Files folder (open Windows Explorer and Shift-drag) and then created a shortcut to the autoruns.exe (Ctrl + Shift-drag) file to your Desktop. I put the autoruns.exe folder in a program-files folder in my Dropbox so I can run it on both my computeers.

To disable an auto-start entry in Autoruns uncheck its check box. To delete an auto-start configuration entry use the Delete menu item or toolbar button. With the exception of items relating to your antivirus, antispyware or firewall almost all non-Microsoft startup items can be disabled resulting in faster startup and freed memory.

Select entries in the User menu to view auto-starting images for different user accounts.

The extra file autorunsc.exe is a command line version of Autoruns. Most people won’t need it. Use it, ignore it or delete it as you wish.

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