autoruns, or "What is all this stuff doing on my computer" revisited

My old post on "What is all this stuff doing on my computer" described how to track down and identify all the processes that start automatically when you log on to Windows. That post continues to get lots of Google traffic, due to a list of all the weird and wonderful executables that get started on a Toshiba Tablet PC, but thankfully the process of identifying them has just gotten a lot easier.

Autoruns screenshot

All you need is autoruns.exe, which you can get for free from

The Sysinternals folks have made two huge usability improvements in the latest version of autoruns: it shows a description and publisher for each entry, plus a simple checkbox to disable or re-enable it. So there's no longer any need to use procexp to find process information, or msconfig to experiment with temporarily disabling something — one tool does it all.

Highly recommended.

Comments (7)

  1. rch says:

    Thanks for this. Autoruns’ new interface is v nice.

    btw I also use WinPatrol Its Startup Programs function offers bonus of listing programs that are in startup but have been disabled. Can be a useful reminder.


  2. Stephane Rodriguez says:


  3. Manip says:

    Isn’t this almost what MSConfig does anyway? Start Menu > Run > MSConfig

  4. Yup, I’ve used msconfig in the past, but autoruns spots more entries, and does a better job of identifying them. It’s mechanism for disabling them is also slicker, with none of msconfig’s annoying reminders every time you log in.

    Basically, if all I had was a bare XP box I’d use msconfig – but I’d switch to autoruns as soon as I got internet access 🙂

  5. Manip says:

    I’ve changed my mind.. This is a good tool. I noticed the explorer addins bit and IE addins so it is definitely better than MSConfig. YAY I can remove the ‘wonderful’ Nvidia AVI properties thing.

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