SysInternals offers a great utility for investigating the behavior of your machine. If you’ve ever tried tracking down spyware/adware or other malicious processes, you’ve probably used the msconfig tool to look at the startup processes.
MSConfig allows you to reach a middle ground between Safe Mode and Normal mode where you can test the environment slowly and meticulously to find if something at startup is causing slowdowns/crashes/popups. You simply uncheck one process at a time and restart to see if the problem has been solved.
Of course there are many problems with this:
- often a lot of things in that startup list
- time consuming
- MSConfig doesn’t list all possible locations
AutoRuns does a lot to help with these issues while serving the same functionality. AutoRuns lists a lot more locations with a better, more organized interface which helps reduce how many things appear and how much time it takes. You can find locations that startup in response to user interactions and disable them, listfilter Microsoft entries, see Group Policy logon scripts taking effect, import and export lists so that they can be viewed from other machines.