If your computer is more than a year or two old, you may notice that it is running much slower than it did in the days of its youth. The first culprit we think of in such a situation is spyware and adware. You can easily pick up a lot of this junk as you surf the Web, and it can significantly slow down your PC, or even cause it to crash. Update all your security programs and run them. If the situation does not improve, you may have too many programs starting with Windows, and hogging your system's resources.
So the usual next step is to go into the msconfig utility and look through the programs that fire up with Windows. We do this by clicking Start, Run, enter "msconfig" (without the quotes) and click OK. Click the Startup tab, and look through the programs, applications, etc.
However, Microsoft has a much better, more comprehensive tool to help with this problem. It is called AutoRuns.
Download it to your computer. It is a zip file, so right-click it and click Extract All to launch the Extraction Wizard, and follow the steps. In the extracted folder, click autoruns.exe and click Run. Click the Everything tab, and you may be shocked at how many processes run with Windows. To begin with, you can click Options, Hide Microsoft Entries. This will allow you to focus on third party startups. Click on the various tabs to see what is going on.
Most entries are confusing and unclear. To find out what they are, right-click an entry and click Search Online. This usually brings up a Windows Live Search. Go through the results. If they are not too helpful either, repeat the search using Google. For your keyword, use the information in the Autorun Entry column.
If the program is unnecessary or in fact a piece of malware, you can uncheck it. Keep a list of processes you uncheck, in case anything goes wrong. Do not uncheck an entry unless you know what it is. Remember, when you uncheck an item, you are not deleting it. You merely prevent it from starting automatically when Windows starts. You can delete an entry, of course, but I do not recommend this unless you are absolutely sure you do not need or want it.
If you have more than one User account, click User. Select another account and you will see the auto-starting processes for it.
To download the free AutoRuns program, click right here
Syd Tash is a noted computer security consultant and author of How to Protect Your Computer Online - A Complete Guide. He has been keeping Web surfers safe and secure since the last century. Find out how he does it; get the latest security news, tips and fixes right here: => http://MyPCSecurityBlog.com
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