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Take control of your Windows startup programs with Autorun Organizer

25 July 2014, Mike Williams

Your PC’s taking an age to boot? It could be launching too many programs when Windows starts. There are plenty of freeware “startup manager” tools which claim they can help, but Autorun Organizer is better than most.

The program checks a good range of startup locations, for instance: the Startup folder, the Registry, Task Scheduler. It’s not Autoruns, but there’s more than enough to be useful.

A well-designed interface immediately draws your attention to relevant details. The “recently added” section displays new startup items, while invalid entries (where the program file is missing) are highlighted in red, helping you spot potential problems in seconds.

To find out more about a startup item, right-click it, and you’ll find options to view its properties, check the startup location (the Registry location/ Startup folder/ Task Scheduler), open the program’s folder, even run a web search.

There’s a pile of information to help you decide which startup programs you need, and which you really don’t

Should you keep a particular item? Like many similar tools, Autorun Organizer can display its popularity with other users, which may help you decide. As it involves sending your startup list to a remote server, this feature is a very minor privacy risk, and the developer has thoughtfully left it disabled by default. But if you’re interested, you can restore it with a click.

Once all this research is complete, your startup items can be processed in various ways. Anything totally useless can be deleted. If you’re not sure about something, there’s an option to temporarily disable it. Or you might opt to delay its launch time, which could make your system feel more responsive when it first starts, as there should be a little less disk thrashing.

In a final clever touch, Autorun Organizer displays a chart of recent “system load times” below the startup item list. This is extracted from your Event Logs (we think), so you’ll see figures from before you installed the program. These provide an immediate objective view of your current performance; if your boot time really is lengthening, you’ll see confirmation here. And if you make any startup changes, reboot, launch Autorun Organizer again, and the chart will give you immediate feedback on the success of your tweaks.

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