5.6. Listing Automatic Tasks

Problem

You want to find the tasks that run during system startup or user logon. This is interesting to check, especially after you've installed new software, to see what tasks and applications are started automatically. This often helps me identify applications that configured to run automatically without my knowledge (e.g., spyware).

Solution

Using a graphical user interface

The Sysinternals Autoruns utility displays all registry- and file-based entries that cause tasks to be run at system startup or user logon. Run the following from a command line or Start Run:

> autoruns

You can open Registry Editor or Windows Explorer to the specific location that defines a task by right-clicking the task and selecting Jump To. You can delete a task by right-clicking it and selecting Delete.

Discussion

In Recipe 5.3, I described some of the Registry keys you can configure to make tasks run at user log on, but as you can see with Autoruns, there are many more available that can do the same thing. Figure 5-2 shows the Autoruns screen, which has a listing of all of the Registry keys, files, and folders that cause a task to run automatically.

Sysinternals Autoruns utility

Figure 5-2. Sysinternals Autoruns utility

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