There are a few ways of
removing unnecessary startup programs. You can go to 'start\programs\startup' which is a directory Windows
XP uses to launch application shortcuts on boot-up. If you remove the shortcuts from
this directory, the applications will not load on startup.
This directory can also be a repository for various badness such as
spyware and virus software, so if there are files here which are not shortcuts
and you don't recognize them, you may wish to consider removing them anyways, as
Windows will not place critical files in this directory.
The next location for removing
unnecessary startup files is the handy MSCONFIG utility that has been
resurrected from the graveyard of Windows 9x specially for XP. Go to 'start\run'
and type 'msconfig' to access the utility.
'startup' tab in MSCONFIG provides access to several other applications that are started
at boot up and are running in the background. By examining their Filenames
and directories, you should be able to get a feeling
for what is necessary and what is not.
Be aware than several viruses and worms have a
habit of disguising themselves with authoritative sounding Windows system file
names, such as the Win32.spybot.worm present in the above screenshot as
Leave these for now if you are not sure. The other
method for removing these programs is through the programs themselves, as many
applications, for example MSN messenger, contain the option to remove the
software from startup.