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Chapter 4.  Configuring the Windows 2000... > Prevent a program from executing aut...

4.2. Prevent a program from executing automatically at startup

On your computer, certain applications might launch when the system starts or when you log on. If you're troubleshooting a problem or simply don't want the program starting up automatically anymore, you're probably looking for a way to keep this from happening. How you do that depends on how the application is being started and involves the Startup folder, registry, and services. If you don't need the program anymore you can simply uninstall it. If you have problems uninstalling or want to keep the program but not have it start automatically, read on.

4.2.1. Check all Startup folders

The first step in disabling startup applications is to search the Startup folders for them. Windows 2000 maintains a separate Startup folder for each user in \ Documents And Settings\user\ Start Menu\ Programs\ Startup. In addition, Windows 2000 maintains a common Startup folder in \ Documents And Settings\ All Users\ Start Menu\ Programs\ Startup that applies to all users. All applications or shortcuts in the Startup folders are executed after logon.

The Startup folders are located in systemroot\ Profiles\ user\ Start Menu\ Programs\ Startup if you upgraded from Windows NT.

You can bypass the Startup folders during logon by holding down the Shift key. Type your password, hold down the Shift key, then continue holding Shift until the logon process completes and the desktop appears. This method is useful when you want to bypass Startup on specific occasions and don't want to modify the contents of the Startup folders.

If you want to permanently disable an item in one of the Startup folders from starting at logon, you can remove the item from the appropriate Startup folder. Just browse to the folder, select the shortcut, and delete it (or move it to a different folder if you think you might want to restore the shortcut later).

4.2.2. Check the registry

In addition to running applications from the Startup folders, Windows 2000 also executes applications at logon based on the contents of the registry key HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Run. Any applications specified in this key run automatically at logon. You can prevent those applications from running by removing their entries from the registry. Here's how:

  1. Make sure you're careful using the registry editor, as an incorrect change to the registry could prevent your system from booting.

  2. Choose Start Run, and enter regedit in the Run dialog box.

  3. In the Registry Editor, open the key HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Run.

  4. Choose Registry Export Registry File.

  5. Type run in the File Name text box, select the option Selected Branch, and click Save to save a backup copy of the key. You can restore the key later if you have problems editing it. Just double-click on the file to restore the settings to the registry.

  6. Find the registry entry for the application you want to remove, then select the key and press Del. Click Yes to delete the key.

4.2.3. Check services

Certain applications run in Windows 2000 as services. These can include third-party applications you install yourself or Windows 2000 components. In either case, you can change the startup mode for the service to prevent it from starting automatically. You do so through the Services branch of the Computer Management console:

  1. Right-click My Computer and choose Manage to open the Computer Management console.

  2. Open the Services and Applications\Services branch.

  3. Using the service name as a guide, locate the service that you want to modify, then double-click the service to open its properties.

  4. Select Manual from the "Startup type" drop-down list.

  5. Click Stop to stop the service.

  6. Click OK to close the dialog box then close the Computer Management console.

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