1 February 2006

Speeding up Windows—Startup Items

Any computer running Windows tends to slow down after a while under the weight of accumulated rubbish most of us install. Disk defragmenting and Cleanup tools are provided by Microsoft under Start Menu_All Programs_Accessories_Sytem Tools, and whilst they may not be as good as some commercial alternatives, they're good enough for most of us.

Harder to seek out and destroy are the numerous little startup items that load into the background of your machine. Some of these are essential, but many of them can be useless bloatware, or worse, spyware nasties. It's easy enough to look at what's running by going to Start Menu_Run and typing msconfig to bring up the System Configuration Utility. Under the Startup tab you'll see a long list of items, but how do you tell what you do and don't need?

Some software vendors helpfully give their startup items logical names. The Skype application, for example, is simply called Skype. Others are not so helpful. On my system are a whole raft of Microsoft items with names such as TINTSETP.

Help is at hand, at the marvelous Network Techs website. You can just type the name of the startup item you're not sure about into their search engine and find out what it is, and most importantly, whether you need it. That's definitely one to bookmark.
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