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Optimizing your Start-up

As you continue to download, purchase, and install software, an increasing number of programs will be automatically loaded with Windows when you first boot up.  A majority of these so-called startup programs are designed to expedite the function of their associated programs by pre-loading a set of tools or programs before you even decide to run it.  While this may be beneficial in the short-run, in the long-run these programs will bog down your system by using unnecessary resources.

Let’s say you have a program that installs a real-time program that actively searches for updates to its core software.  What are the chances that every day it will find a new update?  Next to none.  So why bother having it run every day?  You should instead run an update check from the program itself every once in a while rather than be lazy and allow a background program to search for you every minute your computer is on.  Other examples of unnecessary programs are background processes that monitor your CD-ROM or DVD-ROM for new discs and launch the appropriate program.  You just don’t need that sort of thing if you know what you’re doing.

If you want to know just how many of these unnecessary programs are running at once, a quick way to check is to look at the start bar near the clock.  If you’ve got more than just the clock, an instant messaging program, and your sound options, you’re running something that is taking up resources.

You can even look into more detail by hitting CTRL+ALT+DEL and accessing the task manager.  From there, go to processes, and sort by owner.  If you see a lot of programs running under your login that don’t look familiar, chances are you have something like spyware or an unnecessary program running in the background.  You can end these processes, and then continue using your computer to see if it is affected.  If all seems smooth, you didn’t need that program.

If you are unsure what a particular program does, lets say ’ctfmon.exe’ for instance, just search for that in google and you’ll likely be directed to a site that describes what the program does.  If the site says it unnecessary and can be removed, you should do it.

In order to get rid of programs starting up with windows, go to the ’RUN’ command under the start menu and type in ’msconfig’.  From there, go to the startup section.  Uncheck any programs you feel you may not need, and apply your changes.  The next time you start windows, those programs won’t load.  If you find that your operating system is no longer stable, then you can always go back to msconfig and undo any changes you’ve made.  It’s that easy!