Configure Auto-Starting Applications

How can I easily control what applications will run when my computer starts?

If you want to edit the startup locations manually, just look at the following REGISTRY keys:


You should also look in the startup folders for all users and the current version.

If you’re using Windows 9X or ME, you have the MSCONFIG utility to control what loads in your Startup Group, as well as from various places in the Registry.

Windows XP brings back MSCONFIG as a native tool and that version of MSCONFIG will work great in Windows 2000. You can download the XP version of MSCONFIG from HERE (64kb).

To make your life easier, take a look at 3 cool freeware applications that can easily help you do what you want.


From Sysinternals. This applet shows you what programs are configured to run during system bootup or login. These programs include ones in your startup folder, Run, RunOnce, and other Registry keys. You’ll probably be surprised at how many executables are launched automatically.

autoruns small

You can download it from HERE (v1.2, 32kb)

Startup Control Panel

A nifty control panel applet that allows you to easily configure which programs run when your computer starts. It’s simple to use and, like all my programs, is very small and won’t burden your system. A valuable tool for system administrators! Startup Control Panel is compatible with all modern versions of Windows, including Windows 95, 98, 98SE, ME, NT 4.0, 2000, and XP.

startupcpl small

You can download it from HERE (v2.7, 66kb)


A small utility that runs transparently (it doesn’t even use a tray icon) and notifies you when any program registers itself to run at system startup. It prevents those utterly useless tray applications from registering themselves behind your back, and it acts as a security tool against Trojans like BackOrifice or Netbus.

startupmon small

Download it from HERE (v1.02, 60kb).