Windows Startup Programs Manager Toplist

Martin Brinkmann
Jan 6, 2011
Updated • Feb 20, 2014
Software, Windows, Windows software

If you look for a program to manage startup applications in Windows you end up with dozens effortlessly. They all allow the user to manage startup items, but similarities end there. Some applications display all startup applications and files while others limit the display to the most common locations. Some startup managers may be to complex for beginners or inexperienced computer users while others can be used by everyone with ease.

This toplist lists the best startup managers for Windows in the categories experts and best allrounder to ensure that users of all experience levels and expectations find the best suitable application. Additional applications are listed at the end.

Expert startup manager

When it comes to a professional startup manager for Windows Autoruns is usually the application used and recommended. The application has been developed by Sysinternals which are now part of Microsoft.

The application is a complete startup manager for Windows that offers in depth information not only about the usual startup locations in the Windows Registry and various startup folders but also about other files, programs and services that get started during Windows launch. This includes for instance the scheduled tasks, Internet Explorer Browser Helper Objects and toolbars, Services or network providers.

The program offers to hide Microsoft items from the lists and can analyze offline systems as well.

Autoruns is compatible with 32-bit and 64-bit Windows operating systems. Downloads are provided at the program homepage.

Runner up

Starter is not as complete as Autoruns when it comes to startup items, and the developers do not want it to be. The biggest strength of Starter is that it displays all relevant startup items directly on launch.


The sidebar displays the locations that are scanned during startup. It is usually not necessary to switch around as all items are displayed in the main interface directly. It can however be helpful to remove specific items only.

Start displays processes and services as well with possibilities to end processes or change startup types of services. Starter is available as a portable application and installer at the developer homepage.

Runner Up

OSAM Startup Manager offers interesting features and comprehensive information about the system's startup items. It is for instance possible to scan files with an online malware scanner with an option to submit it to the developers of the application if it is not in the database yet.

autorun manager

Autorun Manager is available as a portable version and installer at the developer website.

Runner Up

ESET SysInspector comes with an autostart manager and a lot more. One of the great aspects of it is that it assigns a risk level to known startup items, processes and other programs that are running.

eset sysinspector

ESET SysInspector is available as a 32-bit and 64-bit edition for the Windows operating system.

User Friendly startup manager

MSConfig is a first party Windows tool that ships with every version of the operating system. It can be launched directly by pressing Windows-R to bring up the run box, typing msconfig in the box and hitting enter. While it is not the most feature complete startup manager it can be used directly without having to download a software first.


Runner Up:

Startup Control is a tiny portable software that displays pretty much the same information as MSConfig, albeit in a slightly more complicated manner. Instead of displaying all startup items in one list, it divides them into locations which means that the user has to click on all entries to assess and manage all startup items.

startup control

The program is easy to use leaving little room for error. Downloads are provided at the developer website.

Helpful programs

What in Startup by Nirsoft
MSConfig Cleanup, remove old entries from MSConfig.
Disable Startup, block new startup items from being added to the operating system.

Which startup manager are you using?


Tutorials & Tips

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  1. Midas said on January 10, 2011 at 4:44 pm

    Another one missed — one I have been using for several years along with Sysinternals Autoruns and Mike Lin’s Start Up Control Panel — is Cliff Cawley’s Startup Delayer, a somewhat different approach to startup application management. (Version 3.0 upcoming, see

  2. 1101doc said on January 10, 2011 at 12:17 am

    +1 for WinPatrol. While not as complete as Autoruns, it is ideal for the ‘ordinary’ user, offers many other benefits beyond startup control, and is simple enough for my Grandma

  3. jSwann0 said on January 7, 2011 at 1:44 pm

    Merci beaucoup Martin.

  4. Buzz said on January 7, 2011 at 1:21 am

    Mike Lin’s StartupMonitor also deserves mention — it provides an alert when any programme registers itself to run at system startup and gives you the option to allow or disallow the registration.

    Handy not only for spyware detection but also for silent start-up registrations installed by numerous mainstream software providers, usually designed to “optimise” their product’s start-up perform but which end up just creating a lot of memory and processor overhead.

  5. tom said on January 6, 2011 at 10:47 pm

    How about WinPatrol ? It not only offers start-up information but can be used to prevent programs to add themselves to the relevant start-up folder.

  6. Paul(us) said on January 6, 2011 at 7:10 pm

    To bad you did not mention the ferry best there is (which exactly has much more offered that (just) startup manager) according main, hopefully humble enough opinion, named: the ultimate troubleshooter.

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