Free Windows Startup Manager
It's typical for computer users to install more and more programs the longer they use their computers. There's just so much interesting software out there that it is inevitable that you'll find some of them. The problem is that many software makers think that their software is so great that you'll want it to start each and every time you start Windows. This is a silly assumption. And it also means that you're probably wasting valuable system resources to programs you don't use all the time.
To remedy this situation, it pays to install one of the many free Windows startup managers that some bright developers have created. I've got one particular favorite from a company called SysInternals. These folks put out a lot of good, free software. I hope they've found a way to make money from their efforts so they'll keep at it. Anyway, the tool I use most often is Autoruns.
The interface is fairly straightforward using multiple tabs to group information. I usually zero in on the logon tab. This is where you can see what programs are set to launch automatically. I routinely go through the list and confirm that anything listed is of actual value. Anything that isn't gets the boot. Managing the startup programs is just one of this things you need to do to keep your PC at peak performance.
One technique for identifying the good and the bad programs is to search for the filename in Google. You'll usually find a forum discussion or article about the program with some indication of whether it is needed or not.
How do you what to keep and what to toss with a startup manager program? I see a lot of Microsoft and owner and unknown. Is there a list of what is needed and what is fluff?