A very cool utility to analyze and keep track of everything running on your computer during startup is Autoruns. This handy little utility displays everything running on your computer when you start up. Sure you can use the built in utility in Windows “msconfig” however your not getting the full picture with msconfig. Autoruns on the other hand will go through and list everything running and the order in which it start up! Here I will show you the difference between MSCONGIG and the Autoruns program on a computer running Windows Vista.
Here is a list of programs and processes that start up when I log into Vista using the MSCONFIG command in the run line. As you can see I uncheck them all which does improve boot time which I explained in a previous how to. This does list quite a few programs but hardly all of them.
Now, when I launch Autoruns look what is pulled up.
What is all of that you ask? Well it is A lot! The shot above is just a sample of everything. This is everything currently running on my Vista machine and the order it was launched. This application is not for a beginner, but rather a power user. Let’s look at the features a little more closely.
After looking through all of the processes if you decide certain ones do not need to start during bootup just uncheck that application or process. Autoruns stores that information in a backup file so if you want to restore it later it’s no problem.
Probably one of the better ways to find out what a particular entry does is to search for it online. Just right click the entry and choose Search Online… your browser will open up with a lot of options. You can also Jump to… which will lead you to the path in the Registry where the process is located. If you do not feel comfortable editing your registry then don’t.
The control tabs at the top will allow you to narrow down specific entries related to various areas in the OS.
You can also control how this application looks to a certain extent by changing the fonts.
Mysicgeek’s Tech Lingo: Dynamic Link Library (DLL) – A library of executable functions used my Windows applications.