Errors When Windows Starts Up? Autoruns Will Tell You Why.


AutorunsOne of my favourite free utilities for Windows received an update a couple of months ago. This is a really useful tool, so I thought I would share the details with you.

The other day my PC started behaving strangely. Whenever Windows starts up, it was giving me an error message about being unable to load a particular feature. The feature was clearly related to a printer driver which I'd recently uninstalled. So I quickly deduced that one part of the printer was still trying to load itself at boot time, and failing.

Windows makes it hard to track down programs that load when the operating system starts up. The details are spread across multiple parts of the registry, as well as various folders and directories. And that's why I like a tool called Autoruns. It collects all the information from the various locations and gives you a list of every file and feature that gets loaded on startup. You can then delete the one that is causing the problem.

Autoruns is a download of less than 2 MB, which contains versions for 32- and 64-bit Windows in both graphical and command-line incarnations. They're portable, and rated reputable by Web of Trust. They're also malware-free according to VirusTotal.

You can download the latest version of Autoruns at

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You often conclude your recommendations with the sentences They're ....... rated reputable by Web of Trust. They're also malware-free according to VirusTotal.

Obviously, the statements were true at the moment when the tests were carried out, but do they remain necessarily true for all time. Do they have any real validity beyond being statements of historical facts?

Nothing in life is guaranteed to remain the same. Software content is constantly changing, especially that which is known to contain potentially unwanted components and/or uses a wrapped installer. Rob's statement illustrates the state of the product at the time the article was written. It is always good practice however for users to check all software before installing it on their computer or mobile device. We have published several articles we hope will assist. MC - Site Manager.

Thanks for the advice.

You're welcome. :) One of the best avoidance aids is a simple add-blocker such as uBlock Origin which is available as an add-on for most of the recognized browsers. Without it, often the most prominent "download now!" buttons on websites will redirect you to a loaded product. With an add-blocker however, the majority of these are hidden so you are more likely to see just the 'clean' link. MC Site Manager.

There are three or four trusted websites that I have relied on for safe freeware for over 10 years.
Of course, these sites too may at any time become unreliable
But if the majority of the trusted sites all have the software, then thats good enough for me

The trusted sites are described somewhere in TechSupportAlert
But there are definitely some freeware sites not be trusted

Is there a a good guide/explanation at a beginner type level as how to effectively use this program.
It would be nice if further discussion was made as how to best use this program with examples perhaps.

Isn't WinPatrol a much simpler to use program for most users?

I agree; a must have in your arsenal of what I consider security software.

Thanks for the info. Looks like a useful program. But, do you know where I can find an explanation of the color highlighting used in the list of running services? I cannot find an explanation (except for light red) in the help file. Thanks.

Very useful tool. I've used it for many years. It can even submit all the start-up files to Virus Total and show you which ones are flagged by at least one scanner.

Thanks Rob, for the reminder about this program
Windows starts up with a large number of system processes, particularly if you have installed a lot of software
Its a little disturbing sometimes to use Task Manager, and see just how many services are running when you have just started your computer !

I dont use Google products, or Google Chrome (due to it being a memory hog in my system), but Google services seem to be running when I start my computer !
I have no idea why, I never said I wanted them on startup
I dont like the idea of Google services choosing to run when they choose to run

Unlike Task Manager or Process Hacker, Autoruns shows which services are running, and more importantly, lets you stop them from running on startup

However only an expert user should play around with this, as I am sure that if you stop some services, Windows will not start at all
Be very careful if you dont know exactly what the program or service does, before you delete it !!