My programs that load on XP startup are out of control!

My computer is slow because of all the programs my XPSP2 loads at startup. Going to Msconfig/System Configuration Utility/Startup, I find 58 programs listed there. Out of control! I've known this for some time so I tried to uncheck some of the boxes but the OS never let my choices stick. In the same place, and in "Services", I found all those 58, but with notations there as to their state of activity. But no unchecking I did there was accepted by XP either. Moreover, in the "All Programs" list, the "Startup" choice there doesn't list those 58 programs at all. It lists only four. Why doesn't it list them all?

So how do I control all the programs that load at startup? I scanned all the likely places in MSHelp, in a big XP book, and here at EE but I found no simple answers. I figure this is a simple question so it must have a simple answer, but most of the answers I found were very complex and involved going into the Registry. That can't be right. So how do I control this?

Now assuming I learn how to delete some of those programs from loading at startup, what is the disadvantage of deleting one? Can't it be loaded manually only when I need it? Is the time waiting for it to load the only thing I save? Obviously, it isn't worth it in my case.

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callrsConnect With a Mentor Commented:

Look up this on Google: disable xp services
Here's two links:     Disable Unneeded Services In Windows XP,1697,1786006,00.asp     Hacking Windows XP: Speed Up Your Boot
Google has many links on tuning XP. E.g.:     Hot Tip 12 Windows XP Tips  Power and Performance

Another thing to do is tune your display for "best performance":
Start -> Control Panel -> (Classic View) -> System ->  Advanced, Performance -> Settings, Select adjust for best performance.

This will give your computer an INSTANT boost that you'll see as you minimize & restore windows. And the increase in speed of display is very dramatic if you visually compare before & after.

As for the computer "speed", the System Properties as above will give you the current computer speed in GHz. But to see what's going on, run this:     Sysinternals Freeware - Process Explorer

Also, make sure you have at least 512 Meg of RAM -- The more the better (but generally, not over 3Gig on a 32-bit computer, since, because of address space taken up by other components, the rest of the RAM can't be used)
Here is a great utility to help you out.

enjoy!  Let me know if you need any help with it.

The disadvantage basically depends on the application you've loaded. You should run an antispyware program from Adaware ( and also keep up with your antivirus. Also the above mentioned 'autoruns' would be able to help you. If still no joy, let us know.

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Mark BradyPrincipal Data EngineerCommented:
Registry is not difficult if you follow the instructions.  To prevent these programs starting on bootup do the following....

<start-run>  type regedit and press enter oin the window that pops up

click on the '+' next to the following key......  HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE




Now ytou will see all programs that load on bootup.  
XP does Not need any of these to run so I delete all of mine except my anti virus program.

If you want a program to start on boot up after you have done the above deletions then open those programs up and go to the options menu or similar and tell then to load on bootup.

This will speed your machine up heeps and make it run faster.

Good luck


toddcampabello  took my idea lol
But also do a spyware/adware check: 
You may well find your list go down after that check
Also a virus check (note, don't run 2 antivirus programs at same time, although you can install 2)

To make some settings stick, you gotta go into each program's options & disable its auto features (auto-start, auto-connect to Internet, auto-download from the Internet, etc.). Do this for Real Player, Windows Media Player....

Also disable findfast
"Microsoft Office installation places FindFast in your system. Its indexing of files can really slow your system...."
also on your start menu there is a folder under programs called "startup" all the things in there also load on PC boot.. check in there and delete anything you dont need.. you can just right click on it and hit delete.. good luck!

if you feel like buying some software id recommend tune up utilities ( has a startup manager as well as many other useful things to get your PC running good again!
callrsCommented:     StartUp Manager for Windows 95, 98, ME, NT, 2000 and XP.
Not free, but looks to be quite nice

Other shareware:     Absolute StartUp manager
"for the absolute control over Windows startups, services, system libraries with schedule!"      EF StartUp Manager       Organize your Windows startup behavior         Startup manager for Windows to optimize Windows startup configuration
"100% Satisfaction! Full version for 21 days trial period "     Startup Guru - Startup manager for Windows
(also has adware/spyware remover)     Startup Genie - Startup manager for windows
Too many to list...just ask Google for: startup manager

Freeware:,fid,5018,00.asp - Startup Manager     WheresJames Startup Manager - Disable programs that start with Windows

But you want the best freeware version? Nirosoft Rocks! Gotta love this company.     StartupRun v1.22 - Startup Manager for Windows 9x/ME/NT/2000/XP
:-D  It even identifies spyware!
petemetzgerAuthor Commented:
Thank you all. I will start trying out these solutions. I notice that no one commented on the last part of my question which is this:

"Now assuming I learn how to delete some of those programs from loading at startup, what is the disadvantage of deleting one? Can't it be loaded manually only when I need it? Is the time waiting for it to load the only thing I save?"

In other words, what do I gain or lose and in having or not having, any particular program load at startup?
There is little disadvantage of deleting anything you don't need. I have almost nothing starting up - not even anti-virus. But don't go to that extreme! LOL. You need anti-virus unless you surf the net carefully. And you need antivirus if certain others use your computer with administrator privileges. (I manually scan files when I need to)

>>"the time waiting for it to load the only thing I save?"
You save more than time: you save memory & your computer speed may increase without all those apps competing for the CPU time and operating system resources.

If you find yourself having to manually open an app again & again, you can always add it back! E.g. autoruns keeps your disabled apps in the list incase you want to enable them again. Or you can add it to your start menu under "Programs -> Startup" and it will load on login.

NOTE: when using autoruns, make sure you use the option under 'options' at the top, 'hide microsoft entries'.  If you remove c:\windows\system32\userinit.exe from startup, windows won't start for example.  Anything non-microsoft tho, is fair game.

The easiest way is to download Mike Lin's free Startup Control Panel at This makes it easy to check and uncheck entries. For those that keep coming back, unless it's a particular Microsoft entry that loves to pop back (ctfmon and msmsgs come to mind), usually it's spyware related, and a good clean by Ewido, Windows Defender, and Spybot will take care of most of these.

To answer your question, I try to keep almost nothing from booting upon startup besides one virus scanner, one spyware scanner, and a firewall as it's much easier to boot and load into memory only the program that you need. If you don't have a ton of RAM, this is the best way. The only exception are some printers/scanners that load "one-touch" software upon startup. They'll still work as printers and scanners if this isn't loaded, but the one-touch features may not work if the program isn't loaded upon startup (or you just load it manually).

It makes for a fast bootup, and really, most of the programs that are there in the startup tray do not need to be there. They're there for branding reasons most of the time.
petemetzgerAuthor Commented:

I downloaded Autorun and was able to see the appropriate sections of Registry which apply. From 58 entries, I pruned my start menu to 6. However "Services", in the "System Configuration Utility" actually increased, showing 58 programs! What does "Services" mean, just the number of programs that are loaded?

Anyway, I can't tell whether my computer is any faster. Is there something in XPSP2 that gives a measure of speed? I also have Everest Analyzer, if that helps. What or how can I get a measure of the effect of reducing the load-at-startup programs as I have done?
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