As you probably know or at least have noticed that when you install a program on your computer it puts itself on the start-up, so every time you start your computer the program execute itself and runs in the background. some programs ask you during the installation wizard if you want the program to run at start-up, some don’t. I hate that. most people don’t have an idea what programs are being executed at start-up, and normally end up with a very slow machine. if you think  about it, that’s logical, let’s say you have 1 GB of memory on the system running windows XP, only the OS  takes up roughly 256 MB of memory, then you have a bunch of programs running at startup which take up a good chunk of memory, let’s say you end up with 768 MB of memory used up, just for the OS and background programs. then you run your normal working applications, WORD, OUTLOOK etc. and bum, you already used up your available physical memory, what the computer does if you used up your available physical memory but open more applications? it uses the paging file for temporary storage, which is a lot more slower than RAM, that is what causes the computer to be slow.

Well, now that discussed the problem that running at startup programs cause, we will proceed with possible ways to avoid this problem. most of us are probably familiar with the System Configuration Utility  tool that comes with Windows XP and newer OSs, which is very convenient if you want to get rid of those programs hogging your system at startup. here is the screenshot just for the sake of it:

system configuration utility

Note: If by a random chance you don’t know this utility, you can get familiar with it by typing msconfig on the run command.

Now if you want to get more technical, you can also see what’s running at the start-up menu by checking the following registry places:

  • HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINESOFTWAREMicrosoftWindowsCurrentVersionRun
  • HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINESOFTWAREMicrosoftWindowsCurrentVersionRunOnce
  • HKEY_CURRENT_USERSoftwareMicrosoftWindowsCurrentVersionRun
  • HKEY_CURRENT_USERSoftwareMicrosoftWindowsCurrentVersionRunOnce

there are more places on the registry that programs can be set to run at the start-up, but those are places more often exploited by spyware programs or viruses, legit software programmers normally set their programs to run at these four registry locations mentioned above.

checking my computer I notice that most of the programs running at startup are on the following key:


which means that they will run for everyone that logs in to the computer regardless what account they use to login because they are on the local machine registry key.

So, where is the script?

The script I want is very simple, it will only allow the programs I need to run and disable the rest. I  have not found a script like this anywhere so I most likely will have to code my own. I know there are some options on local group policy that will also make this trick, but I most likely will end up playing with the registry instead.

basically I only need the antivirus, and some custom software for my laptop to run at startup, and then disable all other programs. you will be able to customize the script for your own needs of course.

stay tune for the follow up post.


note: there is a good program I found the other day at this location its pretty cool, just like the system configuration tool , albeit this utility can be executed in the control panel, just like any other control panel applet.

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