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Windows XP: How do I completely remove items in my startup folder?

by Lee Koo (ADMIN) CNET staff/forum admin / January 22, 2010 7:06 AM PST
Windows XP: How do I completely remove items in my startup folder?

I'm running Windows XP Pro SP3 installed. How do I completely remove items in my startup folder that do not have a check mark in the box before the entry? I want to totally take it out of there so I don't even see it. There are times when I remove the check mark in the box and the next time or two when I reboot the item reappears again with a check mark in the box. Why is this happening? When I type msconfig in the run box and go to startup tab and remove the check mark, it sometimes comes back with a check mark there. I'm sure there is a way to completely remove the items that do not have a check mark in it as well but I don't know how to do it. I hope you or the members can submit an answer to my problems.

--Submitted by Mike

Here are some featured member answers to get you started, but
please read all the advice and suggestions that our
members have contributed to this question.

Removing start-up items in Windows --Submitted by GEO2003

Remove and monitor items in the start-up folder --Submitted by kfb1

Be careful what you ask for! --Submitted by charleswsheets

Removing is easy --Submitted by happy2000usa

Stopping programs from running --Submitted by jwatersphd

Thank you to all who contributed!

Note: Some answers provided by our members include Windows registry editing. Unless you are pretty tech savvy and know what you are doing with the registry, DO NOT attempt to dabble in the Windows registry as any little mistake can and will cause havoc on your machine. Please proceed with caution!

If you have any additional suggestions or recomendations for Mike, please click on the reply link and submit your answer. Please be as detailed as possible when providing a solution. Thanks!
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startup problems
by alf / January 22, 2010 9:06 AM PST

I had the same problem and it made no difference what ever I did.
I then got lucky I download a free program called CCleaner, best thing I ever done,Clean your computer each day, go to start up page and remove everything you don't need, it wont remove the program only the start up and you don't see it again.My computer now starts up very quickly but the programs are still on my list if I need them

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CCleaner is indispensible
by dg27 / January 29, 2010 11:21 AM PST
In reply to: startup problems

I wholeheartedly agree: In addition to clearing up the start menu, I run CCleaner every day for cleaning out all of the crap that so quickly accumulates.

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Clearing programs from startup
by caskater4 / January 22, 2010 9:15 AM PST

Hi Mike,

There are actually three places Windows looks for when launching programs at startup. The first is the Startup folder in your start menu (C:\Document and Settings\{yourusername}\Start Menu\Programs\Startup), the second is in the All Users startup folder (C:\Documents and Settings\All Users\Start Menu\Programs\Startup) and the last is actually in the Windows Registry.

Editing the Windows Registry is always extremely risky so be careful when making changes to it. You can open up the registry editor by:
1. Click Start
2. Click Run...
3. Enter 'regedit' into the text box
4. Click OK

Next you will want navigate to Windows' Run registry. This is available at the registry location HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Run. Once you have found it you will see several rows of entries in the Run folder. Each row is a program that is launched at system startup. To remove a program simply click the name and hit the delete key. As I mentioned above be extremely careful when modifying the registry as it can have unforseen consequences.

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Removing start up items in Windows
by GEO2003 / January 22, 2010 9:16 AM PST

Very simple, download Revo Uninstaller from Cnet - Windows - Download.

This is a very simple program.
Install it, do not install any toolbars if it offers.

At the end of the installation it will ask if you want to open the programs, just click ok.

The first windows shows all the programs you have installed in your computer.

To see the items that start up automatically
Click on Tools and Autorun Manager.


There are some programs, that use this process to start up with your computer, but if they are returning when you use MSCONFIG, it COULD mean that it is needed by some application that you have in your system.

Which is the reason why i suggest you do the search first as instructed above.

If you understand clearly that you don't needed and it continues to lauch after de-selecting it in Revo, it means that a Windows Service
is launching that application.

I am calling it a Windows Service, but it could be an application Service which are located in the same area of the Operating System.

Do a search on how to access services in XP, because I don't remember the exact steps.


If you just de-select it in Revo is as if you were using MSCONFIG, but Revo gives you the option to Delete it, or Search it, so that you understand what that process does.


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"startup" vs. "install"
by ckollars / January 29, 2010 12:27 PM PST

Did the questioner really mean something similar to my system, or the question you answered, or...?

I have some application programs I want to keep around so I can occasionally start them manually; I just don't want them to start up _automatically_.

If the questioner is asking about the same situation, "uninstall" --which prevents _all_ startups including manual ones-- does too much.

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revo uninstaller
by catlady9tails / January 30, 2010 12:18 AM PST

Thanks Geo2002 ,I have been using the Revo uninstaller for some time now and and really like it but didn't know about the tools thing.I checked it out like you said, as before I was using msconfig, , worked like a charm. catlady

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removing star up items in windws
by burebista gelu / February 5, 2010 4:28 PM PST

hello from europe,you have many posibility to do it,first download CCcleaner free program for cleaning and you have 2 screen,one for clean en one for aplication to remove from start,second choice to install TUNE UP and to have your pc working fantastic,is up to you

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Try Autoruns from Microsoft

Autoruns is a very small program (554 KB) from Microsoft. Here's the download page:

And here's the direct download link:

It's a part of the Sysinternals suite of system utilities which was later obtained by Microsoft. The whole suite is now available through the Technet channel.

Autoruns need not be installed. Just extract it from the downloaded ZIP archive and run it. It would show you the processes and programs that load during the startup time from so many areas in the system that you'll probably be amazed. It allows you to delete the entries as you wish. Thus, look for the entries that you see in the msconfig box and that you'd like to delete, and click the delete button after highlighting them. That's it.

(Before making the changes, backup the important data and the system too. Removing critical entries from startup list can result in a system no longer usable.)

Hope that was helpful. Cheers.

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startup folder entry removal
by gvosburgh / January 22, 2010 9:22 AM PST

There's a great file cleanup program called CCleaner.It has a startup entry option that allows entries to be disabled or deleted.


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by CoolPaw / January 23, 2010 8:36 AM PST

I just ran CCleaner, and an item called 'memory dump' showed up with 785,000 KB. I have never seen this before. Is it safe to delete?

I have a Dell computer with Windows XP Pro. Thanks.


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Memory Dump files
by MKorkowski / January 25, 2010 12:20 AM PST
In reply to: CCleaner

Yes, it is normally easy and safe to delete these files with the extension .dmp. These are crash dump files that can only be viewed and used by a professional that is analyzing your P.C. These are the "smoking gun" files so to speak. They can tell the professional what may have gone wrong when your P.C. crashed. These files can be quite large and literally become large useless boat anchors on your hard drive wasting space. If your P.C. is going to be analyzed by a professional and if they are going to look at the dump files then keep them, otherwise get rid of them. Also in Windows Xp in control panel under System/adavanced/startup and recovery/ choose small memory dump. This will help. But to note if there is a big crash and or a B.S.O.D. then then dump file may still be quite alrge.

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Remove items in startup folder

If you hurry, you can go to this site:


Download the Trail version

All you have to do is run the "Startup Manager"

This program completely erases the program from your startup list.

I personally own the full version and I love it.

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cleaning up your startups
by jimUSN / January 22, 2010 9:32 AM PST

You can go to:

and download the software for a month free trial. This will then enable the items to be completely removed. Downside is that the software will only work for 30 days free. But the items you don't want are erased.

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stopping programs from running

there are several possibilities:

most likely: some programs, even if unchecked in msconfig, cause themselves to be started on the next boot. so if you run them, they will appear as to-be-started in msconfig and you have to uncheck them again. there could be a setting within the program you can change so this does not happen, or the program may not have this feature and you are probably going to have to live with it.

second, your start menu also has a "start up" group, click "all programs" to see it. if the program is in there for some reason it will run even if you change it in msconfig though you would hope not. try changing in msconfig, then go into start, all programs, start up and see if it's there. if so, try to remove it from there.

finally, a third way to affect how things work is to go into "computer management". go to start and right click on computer and select manage. you'll get a box and one item will be services. when you open that you'll see all the programs and their status, including start up behavior. you can try to change it there as well. if you unchecked it in msconfig, it ought, by rights, to be listed there as either "manual" or "disabled" in its startup behavior, and also as NOT "started" currently, PRESUMING you have not run the program since starting up.

so these are 3 ways of affecting what starts. ideally they would all do the same thing, but *maybe not*. if you try all three and do NOT run the program during one session (boot to re-start or shutdown), and the program still gets started automatically, i have NO idea what is happening, but if this re-enabling in msconfig or the startup menu or computer mangement happens ONLY after you have run the program, it is probably the program itself that is re-establishing itself as "to be started" so try to change it from within the program.

i went into this much detail because your question suggests some possible confusion between the "startup folder" and "msconfig" and also because the computer management route is one that a lot of people don't know about.

good luck


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Delete startup files

I suggest using a program called ccleaner which you can download at Once you download and itstall it, go to tools and then to start up. There you can enable/disable and delete startup entries. I have been using this tool for years and its dependable. I also use it for registry cleaning which I have learned not to trust to just any program.

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Win XP Start Up Removals.
by RDouglass1 / January 22, 2010 10:05 AM PST

You are one the right track with MSCONFIG. Un-Check as you have, then go into your various folders named Start Up, "All Users", "Your Name", "Shared", and any others with that Name, "Start Up".

All items in them are "Shortcuts", just delete them all, or create a dummy folder, call it what you want, like "Temp-Hold", and drag all of the Start Up items from the Start Up folders to that one. That should stop 95% of programs from poping back in the msconfig.

Some programs may need Registry Editing, but I don't go there.

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Remove and Monitor Items in the Startup Folder
by kfb1 / January 22, 2010 10:20 AM PST

You have two separate issues going on here. The first is removing items from the startup folder and msconfig. An excellent freeware program called CCleaner ( has an option in Tools, Startup that will let you remove an item from the startup entirely. Just right-click and choose to delete.

This works well, but there is another component to make sure the startup item does not return. Programs like QuickTime automatically try to add their startup file to your system each time you run it. If you want to manage it so they never return, there is another great program called StartupMonitor by Mike Lin ( I have used this in XP, Vista and Win7 and it works flawlessly to let you know if any program is trying to add itself to your startup registry. Each time something wants to regsiter to the start up, you can allow or block the program as you choose. So, CCleaner will remove the item and StartupMonitor will make sure they don't come back. Good luck!

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by jb295 / January 30, 2010 5:10 AM PST

CCleaner isnt really free--I just tried it. It did a few things and said I needed to purchase it for it to complete the task.

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by catlady9tails / January 30, 2010 11:05 PM PST
In reply to: CCleaner

to jb295, I have used ccleaner for years now. and have never been asked to buy it. try downloading it from c/net download center.
I first found out about it from Kim Komando news letters, her down loads are safe and free. you can also subscribe to all 4 of her news letters and learn a lot. Kim Komando .com. she tells you about safe security programs etc.
one I have is ( its a little green doughnut that turn's color when a site is not safe. I tried searching for Msconfig cleanup and it turned yellow saying it wasn't a trustworthy site.
I also use browser defender and McAfee site advisor.
hope this helps catlady

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CCLEANER is not Free
by zahiralam / February 2, 2010 2:07 AM PST
In reply to: ccleaner

I downloaded from CNET website. After scanning it asked me to register software before clean-up could be performed. After I entered my name, e-mail and zip code the following screen was displayed:

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The Windows Registry stores settings and options for Microsoft Windows. Over time, the registry gradually grows in size and gets cluttered with invalid and obsolete data. This slows Windows down and causes other problems.

Optimize your computer today to keep it safe and fast!

Single User License ($29.99)

Yes! Include the automatic windows backup option for $9.95!

PC Cleaner - recommended for keeping your computers safe and running like new.


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by catlady9tails / February 2, 2010 7:15 AM PST
In reply to: CCLEANER is not Free

try this download center ( -
ps let me know how you come out

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CCLEANER is not Free
by catlady9tails / February 2, 2010 7:21 AM PST
In reply to: CCLEANER is not Free

to zahiralam
, I just clicked on the site in my last post and it took me right there, and on the right is the place to click to down load. and it says freeware on the site good luck catlady

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difference b/t Ccleaner and PCcleaner
by cjf1236 / February 3, 2010 8:32 AM PST
In reply to: CCLEANER is not Free

I think the people here are referring to Ccleaner, which I have used for years as well and is completely free (donations are taken).

You are downloading PC Cleaner, which I think is a completely different program made by different people and, according to your experience, is not free.

That explains your problem, I think. Good luck.

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by RWallaceJD / February 4, 2010 3:44 AM PST

Ccleaner is a program that I downloaded thinking it was 'freeware.' It preformed a few functions and then ask me to buy the program. Each time I reboot my laptop, I am ask to buy the program. Yes, it is Ccleaner . . . NOT PCCleaner.

Apparently, what was once free now requires a fee.

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by cjf1236 / February 4, 2010 7:04 AM PST

First off, I'm trying to help. Relax.

Second, I just updated to the newest version of Ccleaner and it ran without asking me to register it or to pay anything. Why?

Do they not like you? I think the more likely explanation is it isn't the same program, and that's the advice I offered. Maybe you are right and for certain platforms/uses you have to pay. But I don't see anything about that.

I downloaded the newest version here:

Did you go through the Piriform website? Check that, and let me know if it is the same program and if I'm mistaken.

Again, good luck.

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by catlady9tails / February 4, 2010 7:29 AM PST

( - This is the site that I get the ccleaner and the updates catlady

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by catlady9tails / February 4, 2010 7:43 AM PST

to RWallaceJD
is it possible it has to do with the pc? I have windows Xp service pack 3 and IE 8 I use firefox for my browser most .Did you try the link in the reply I sent the other gentleman?
hope this helps catlady

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Remove and monitor items in the startup folder
by Roland Longden / February 19, 2010 3:59 PM PST
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Remove and Monitor Items in the Startup Folder
by Roland Longden / February 19, 2010 4:15 PM PST

For the programme CCleaner 2.28.1091, the article writer says that it can be used to prevent programmes from loading on start-up by removing them from the start-up list. However, on the webpage for this programme it says this: "CCleaner is a freeware system optimization, privacy and cleaning tool. It removes unused files from your system - allowing Windows to run faster and freeing up valuable hard disk space. It also cleans traces of your online activities such as your Internet history. Additionally it contains a fully featured registry cleaner. But the best part is that it's fast (normally taking less than a second to run) and contains NO Spyware or Adware!".

There's no mention of being able to delist checked items on start-up. I assume that the pgm icons would remain on the desktop so one can still open them up at any time. However, as I say, this facility isn't mentioned.

However, if, by "unused files" it means pgms which otherwise load on start-up and which make PCs interminbly slow, then I am obviously misunderstanding the terminology being used.

My system is WIN XP Prof.

Mike Thurgood

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Remove Items From XP Startup
by Basuto9 / January 22, 2010 10:21 AM PST
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