Guest Author - Rick Carruth
Every time you start your computer, there are a number of programs that load automatically. Yes, we all see our desktop come alive with icons. But, unless you are in control of your "startup menu", programs loading "in the background" can reduce your computer to a crawl.
Programs like your antivirus, Windows Messenger, cursor, perhaps your volumn control and printer, are all loaded automatically and generally consume the bulk of your load time. Unfortunately, other programs that you do not need to load, and are probably not aware are loading, often hog your system resources and affect the overall performance of your computing experience.
Programs that load during startup, will continue to run throughout your session and affect the speed of your computer. If you have noticed a sharp decline in your computers speed, one of the possible problems could be your startup "menu". Your menu is nothing more than a list of all the programs that load at startup.
StartupRun, by Nirsoft.net, is a small freeware program that displays a list of all the startup items that load when Windows boots. Normally, you would have to go through the start-run-msconfig process to see what loads, and whether you need those items, or whether some of those items are spyware, adware, or simply unneccessary items that interfere with your computers processing ability.
Operating with Windows 9x, Windows NT, Windows 2000, and Windows XP, StartupRun is an executable utility which, once downloaded, doesn't require an installation - just open and run. It will quickly display a list of all the applications that load and highlight in pink any programs it identifies as spyware and/or adware.
In addition, it will list all the information you need to determine whether an application is essential, such as product name, descriptions, version, company name, and other helpful information. You can Save, Copy, Enable, Disable, Delete, and Edit each item from StartupRun's list.
Begin by copying and saving all the details of your original scan to a text file (note pad), in case you need to revert to your original setting. Study each item and determine if it appears to be a program you need at startup. If you feel it's not necessary, Disable it from the menu and see how it affects your startup time and performance, and remember, only Delete items you are sure you do not need. Disabling gives you the option of going back and correcting something you later determine you need, or want.
If you have serious doubts about choosing the right programs to keep, try visiting a reliable forum and let an experienced user review your startup items and help in your choices. One forum I can recommend for good advice is NibbleGuru at: www.nibbleguru.com
Those of you experienced with adding and removing items from your startup menu will appreciate the ease of editing and controlling your computer, instead of the other way around. I am constantly surprised at the variety of programs that find their way into my startup menu without my permission. StartupRun gives me the power to easily monitor and update my machine with a few simple clicks..