Windows 7: Managing Software Once It’s Installed (part 3) - Viewing and Managing Startup Programs

1/23/2011 9:16:01 AM

4. Viewing and Managing Startup Programs

Some software programs you install, such as antivirus or backup software, are configured as startup programs. As the name implies, startup programs run in the background and start automatically when you log on. You can view the currently configured startup programs using the System Configuration utility. The System Configuration utility also allows you to enable or disable startup programs.

4.1. Viewing your startup programs

You can open the System Configuration utility and view your startup programs by completing the following steps:

  1. In Control Panel, click System and Security and then click Administrative Tools. On the Administrative Tools page, double-click System Configuration.

  2. In the System Configuration utility, select the Startup tab, as shown in Figure 5.

Figure 5. Viewing your startup programs

Table 1 provides a summary of the configuration details for startup programs.

Table 1. Overview of configuration details for startup programs
CommandLists the complete file path to the executable file
Date DisabledLists the date and time that the startup program was disabled (if applicable)
LocationLists the folder path where the startup program shortcut was created, or the Run key value in the registry
ManufacturerLists the company that published the software
Startup ItemLists the application name that Windows 7 uses Enabling and disabling startup programs

While you are working with the System Configuration utility, you can configure your startup programs. You have several options for managing startup programs. You can:

Enable a specific startup program

If you previously disabled a startup program, you can change this by enabling the program to run at startup. To do this, select the program’s checkbox.

Disable a specific startup program

If you don’t want a program to start automatically when you log on, you can clear the related checkbox to disable it. A disabled startup program will no longer run on startup.

Enable all startup programs

If you want all relevant programs to be started automatically, select Enable All.

Disable all startup programs

If you don’t want any relevant programs to be started automatically, select Disable All.


If you no longer need a startup program or you want to prevent it from being enabled in the future, you can remove its shortcut from the location specified or look for an option in the program to disable automatic startup. Whenever you modify startup programs, you should restart your computer and determine whether there is any negative impact on your computer.

5. Adding and Removing Windows Features

In Windows XP and earlier versions of Windows, you use the Add/Remove Windows Components option of the Add or Remove Programs utility to add and remove operating system components. In Windows 7, operating system components are considered Windows features that can be turned on and off rather than added and removed.

Table 2 provides a complete list of available Windows features and their uses. The table also denotes the default on or off state for Windows 7 editions that support the feature.

Table 2. Windows features
Windows featureDescriptionDefault configuration
GamesEnables the games included with the operating systems. You can select the Games option to install all available games, or expand the Games node to select individual games. Games available include Chess Titans, FreeCell, Hearts, InkBall, Mahjong Titans, Minesweeper, Purble Place, Solitaire, and Spider Solitaire.On
Indexing ServiceWindows 7 uses the Windows Search service for content indexing and property caching of documents. If you are using your computer to provide web server services, you can enable Indexing Services for backward compatibility with search features used in your web pages.Off
Internet Explorer 8Windows 7 includes Internet Explorer 8. If you’ve installed a different browser, you can clear this option to uninstall Internet Explorer 8.On
Internet Information ServicesWindows 7 includes Internet Information Services 7. You can use this option and its related suboptions to configure FTP, web, and application services.Off
Internet Information Services Hostable Web CoreEnables the hostable web core for Internet Information Services.Off
Media FeatureEnables the core media features of Windows 7, as applicable for the operation system edition you are running. Can include Windows DVD Maker, Windows Media Center, and Windows Media Player.On
Microsoft .NET Framework 3.5.1Enables .NET Framework 3.5.1, which includes a comprehensive framework for client-server communications over a network. If you install applications that require the Windows Communication Foundation APIs, you can enable the related options.Partial
Microsoft Message Queue (MSMQ) ServerEnables a server service that allows queuing for web applications.Off
Print and Document ServicesEnables network printing and document services. Use Internet Printing Client to enable your computer to use HTTP to connect to a web print server. Use LPD Print Service to enable your computer to work as a Line Printer Daemon and Remote Line Printer client. Use LPR Port Monitor to enable your computer to print to TCP/IP printers connected to a Unix server. Use Scan Management for managing scanned documents. Use Windows Fax and Scan to enable your computer to send, receive, and manage faxes, and to scan and manage documents.On for Internet Printing Client and Windows Fax and Scan
Remote Differential CompressionEnables your computer to transfer the differences between two objects over the network. This option is used primarily with Group Policy and domain configurations to reduce network bandwidth usage.On
RIP ListenerEnables your computer to listen to route updates sent by routers that use Routing Information Protocol version 1 (RIPv1).Off
Services for NFSEnables your computer to participate in file sharing using the Network File Sharing (NFS) protocol. Use Client for NFS if your office or school network has NFS shares that you need to connect to.Off
Simple Network ManagementProtocol (SNMP) Enables Simple Network Management Protocol (SNMP) agents that monitor the activity of network devices and create reports of this activity. Use WMI SNMP Provider only if you are an administrator who uses SNMP administration tools for monitoring network activities.Off
Simple TCPIP ServicesEnables simple TCP/IP services, such as echo and daytime. These services may open your computer to attack and is not recommended for use with Windows 7.Off
Subsystem for Unix-basedApplications Enables a compatibility subsystem for Unix-based applications and scripts.Off
Tablet PC Optional ComponentsEnables optional components normally used with Tablet computers including the Input Panel, Snipping Tool, Sticky Notes, and Windows Journal.On for Tablet PCs
Telnet ClientEnables your computer to connect to other computers using Telnet.Off
Telnet ServerEnables your computer to receive Telnet connections from other computers. This service may open your computer to attack and is not recommended for use with Windows 7.Off
TFTP ClientEnables your computer to connect to other computers using TFTP.Off
Windows Gadget PlatformEnables desktop gadgets.On
Windows Process Activation ServiceInstalls the .NET environment, configuration APIs, and process model for the Windows Process Activation Service.Off
Windows SearchEnables content indexing, property caching, and search.On
Windows TIFF IFilterEnables tagging, indexing, and searching TIFF image files using optical character recognition (OCR).Off
Windows Virtual PCEnables Windows Virtual PC, a service that is necessary for Windows XP Mode .On if you have installed Windows Virtual PC
XPS ServicesEnables printing to XPS documentsOn
XPS ViewerEnables you to view and manage XPS documentsOn

You can turn Windows features on and off by following these steps:

Figure 6. Turning Windows features on and off

  1. Click Start→Control Panel→Programs.

  2. Click “Turn Windows features on or off.” This displays the Windows Features dialog box, as shown in Figure 6.

  3. To turn features on, select feature checkboxes. To turn features off, clear feature checkboxes.

  4. When you click OK, Windows 7 reconfigures components as appropriate for any changes you’ve made.

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