By using Run and the command msconfig for bringing up Windows’ System Configuration, is how we modify most of the startup functionality of our PC. It’s the stock way of changing up our boot options, startup programs, and background services.
While this Windows feature manages to get the job done, third-party developers always come to the rescue and seem to go above and beyond. The best proof of that in this example would have to be Autoruns, an application that has quality enough to be featured in the Sysinternal Suite on the official Microsoft website! If you’re a system administrator obsessed with tweaking your Windows machine, I wouldn’t doubt that you’ve heard of it.
Starter, an application by, is incredibly similar to Autoruns. It’s almost like another flavor of the application. In this article, I want to introduce you to Starter and some of its features and differences from Autoruns.
Starter is listed as compatible with Windows 9x, Me, NT, 2000, XP, 2003, and Vista. I’ve run Starter on Windows 8 Pro and it works like a charm. I’m confident it also works on machines running 7.
It comes available as an installation and portable archive. Both downloads are around just 700 KB in size. The website also provides several different language files for translations of Starter, so that’s a great bit of effort on their part.
Opening the application will, by default, display your Windows startup applications.
Right-clicking an item in the list offers a large number of options, plenty more extensive than what Microsoft allows in their System Configuration. You’re able to perform basic actions like disabling or completely deleting an item, launching it, or more advanced options like exploring the associated key within the Windows registry.
In the panel to the left you’re given a breakdown of the different areas where your startup items may exist. Applications that run an update or scan should be found under the RunOnce tab, for example.
Under this tab, all running Windows processes are displayed.
This tab also offers a dual-pane view, yet positioned vertically (rather than horizontally). The upper half will show your processes and the lower half shows the modules associated with those processes (which should only be considered important to the more experienced user).
The right-click options here are no more extensive than what is offered in the Task Manager, other than being able to export your running processes to an HTML file or automatically searching the internet for information regarding the process.
If nothing else, this tab is useful for being able to sort processes by data not provided in the Task Manager, such as your non-paged pool.
The Services tab also looks very similar to what is offered on System Configuration by default.
What I do appreciate are the visuals of this list, allowing you to see if a process is enabled or disabled more easily by icons rather than just plain text. Right-clicking entries allow immediate access to starting, stopping, or restarting a service. You can also choose to enable or disable them.
You are also able to add certain services to a list of Favorites. This is just a filtered list that offers easy access to services in the list that you’ve tagged as favorites. I’d recommend this for gamers, for example, who enable or disable certain processes over and over on a daily basis.
While Starter doesn’t bring anything new or groundbreaking to managing your Windows system, it is an acceptable alternative to Autoruns and some may prefer it over the Sysinternals software. What do you think of Starter? Is the interface simpler and easier for you to use, or do you prefer what is offered with Windows? Let me know in the comments!