How to use Windows Defender to manage your start-up programs and speed Windows start-up

You have probably heard of this one before………that tweaking msconfig can help prevent unnecessary programs from starting up when your computer boots, thereby increasing the boot speed.

This is an essential part of computer maintenance. Because when you install programs to your computer, many programs surreptitiously add themselves to the Start-up folder, even if it is not necessary for these programs to always start up when Windows does.  And of course, there is no law against a program unnecessarily slowing your computer’s boot.

Among the most notorious of such programs are those that come bundled with printer/scanner software. While it is necessary for some components of such programs to always be active, you may notice that other components, such as those that check for new updates for the software also start running when Windows starts up.

While msconfig has been a classic when it comes to managing the Start-up folder, the purpose of this post is to suggest a more interactive alternative, Windows Defender.

In case you haven’t heard, Windows Defender is a free anti-spyware program offered by Microsoft. It comes bundled with Windows Vista. XP users can download it here.

A little known feature of Windows Defender is is its ability to manage the start-up folder. To reach this interface, go to Tools, then Software Explorer and select “Start-up Programs” from the drop down list next to Category. Then click the “Show for all users” button at the bottom.

You will see all of your Windows start-up programs neatly listed, grouped under their respective publishers. You have the option of disabling them, or removing them from the start-up list. You can also re-enable those that you disabled.

caution-sign1 Note that many programs in the start-up list are critical for your computer to start-up and perform as expected. Disabling them or removing them from the start-up list can adversely affect your computer and/or its components. Your computer may not start up. Or it may not perform as expected. In my case, I found more than 50 per cent of the programs in the start-up list to be legitimately there. Before you disable a program or remove it from the list, check what has to say about the program. You can do this by entering the File name of the program in question (see picture below) into the search field at



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