Autoruns is a Sysinternals utility that shows you what programs are configured to run during system bootup or login, and shows you the entries in the order Windows processes them. Developed by Mark Russinovich and Bryce Cogswell, this utility brings a deeper control in terms of auto-start applications and registry files. It represents everything that MSConfig cannot do.
Autoruns is a portable utility, so all you have to do is to copy it in a secure location on your hard drive and simply run it. The app starts instantly showing you 18 tabs including logon entries, Explorer add-ons, Internet Explorer add-ons including Browser Helper Objects (BHOs), Appinit DLLs, image hijacks, boot execute images, Winlogon notification DLLs, Windows Services and Winsock Layered Service Providers. It’s a classic chaotic interface for casual users, but I have to admit that this is the best way to view from a single look everything that breaths on your computer.
Overall, using this utility is simple if you know exactly what are the components running in your system. For example if you want to disable an auto-start entry uncheck its check box. This option is very useful in case you want to find out what that entry is doing in your system without taking the risk to delete it. To delete an auto-start configuration entry just use the Delete menu item or toolbar button. If you want to locate any registry file of an auto-start item just use the Jump menu item or toolbar button.
This utility works also in conjunction with other Sysinternals utilities. In case you want to view the properties of an executable configured to run automatically, select it and use the Properties menu item or toolbar button. If Process Explorer is running and there is an active process executing the selected executable then the Process Explorer menu item in the Entry menu will open the process properties dialog box for the process executing the selected image.
In addition Autoruns’ Hide Signed Microsoft Entries option helps you to zoom in on third-party auto-starting images that have been added to your system and it has support for looking at the auto-starting images configured for other accounts configured on a system. Also included in the download archive is a command-line equivalent to Autorun that can output in CSV format, Autorunsc.