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Preventing Programs From Automatically Starting

Getting In Deeper


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Simply looking at the Autostart menu in MSCONFIG and unchecking programs doesn't necessarily get rid of everything that may automatically start and run in the background.

I use a third party software to make it easier to find and remove the programs that I don't want to automatically start.  Naturally, since I'm not made of money, I use something that's either free or very inexpensive.

Option 1

I use a program called Spybot Search and Destroy.  It is designed as an anti-spyware application, but it comes with a tool for examining and changing the programs that automatically start.  You can get the program here, and its FREE.  

Image of System Tray with Spybot's iconAfter installing it, you should get the updates.  It will minimize to your system tray.  (NOTE that It will also install itself into your Autostart.  You can either decide that one more anti-spyware program can't hurt and might help, or you can remove it later.)  

Right-click on the icon in your system tray and click on "Run Spybot S&D".  (Or go to the Start menuu and start it from there.)

Image of spybot's right-click menu

You will see a brief splash screen come up:

This may seem worrisome at first, but all it means is that IF you have some software installed that you like to use and IF it has a spyware component to is, and then IF you remove that component, your software may not work.  Not to worry.  First of all, you probably don't have any software like this.  If for some reason you do, if you were to use Spybot to scan for spyware, instead of removing what it finds, quarantine it.  Then find out if any software doesn't work right, and if so, you can take the spyware out of quarantine, and tell Spybot to ignore that from now on.

BUT, we're not really going to be using Spybot for spyware detection.  So click "OK".

Image of Spybot's Main Menu

Click on "Tools" (down in the bottom left hand corner).  Then click on "Startup".

Image of Spybot's Startup Tool

There may be some items that won't have an explanation available on the sidebar on the right.  You could try using Google to find out about them.   Or you could try disabling them and seeing what happens.  (You may have to start in "Safe" mode if you kill something important, and then open up Spybot and re-enable it.)  That's a lot of screwing around, and for me it was enough to kill some of the most obvious nuisances.

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