Start Menu cleanup

When I check out my start menu ( Start >run >msconfig >startup ) There’s a million programs there. Naturally, since I want my 'puter to run faster than a 90 year old with a walker, 99% of them are unchecked, the only things I have run at startup are Norton Utilities, AVG Antivirus and ZoneAlarm. Most of the programs there are there because they went and installed themselves on the start menu either before I was savvy enough to not have the install program do it or on their own, the bastards. My question: Is there any way to remove these programs from the start menu entirely? They don’t run on startup, but some of them automatically set themselves to do so if you use them (Quicktime and Realplayer(blech!) I’m looking at you), and some of them I’m never, never going to want to load on startup, I’d just as soon they were gone entirely. If I want them, I will run them manually, thankyouverymuch.

Hint: It would be nice if you tolds us what version of Windows you are using …

Using msconfig you should be able to uncheck the start up programs. (There is also a freeware tool from PC Magazine called StartupCop that works much better at this.)

What is really important is that you do not uncheck required startup files for your computer. But since you didn’t tell us which version of Windows you are using …


You can edit them out of the Registry. Before starting, make a backup copy of the Registry, in case you screw up. Then navigate to HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Run. From here you can delete any items you don’t want to start or show up in the msconfig Startup list.


OK, ok, so I missed it. It’s Friday. :smack:

Use Startup Cop as I suggested earlier. You don’t need to edit the Registry.

If your RealPlayer entry is anything like mine (Name: TKBellExe, Path: “C:\Program Files\Common Files\Real\Update_OB\realsched.exe” -osboot), I found that you can just rename realsched.exe to prevent it from running, without any apparent harm. As you note, you can’t can’t just delete the registry entry, because RealOne Player recreates it next time you run it, in typical RealNetworks fashion.

Actually, there are multiple places where auto-startup exe’s can be hiding, including in

  • HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Run (as pointed out by Q.E.D.)
  • HKEY_CURRENT_USER\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Run
  • in the Programs/Startup folder
  • in the All-Users Programs/Startup folder
  • (there may be others)

msconfig gets all of these. I’ve also used a freeware program called StartStop.exe, but I can’t seem to find it on the Internet anymore.

The only things that msconfig doesn’t get are patched components of the OS itself, i.e. when software replaces an existing .dll or other that the OS loads in order to operate. Unfortunately, this happens alot.