Starter: A Simplified & Compact Alternative To Autoruns [Windows]

Craig Snyder 01-01-2013

alternative to autorunBy 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 Get Your Computer Startup Under Control With Autoruns Read More , 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 CodeStuff, 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.

Click here to go to the official Starter website!

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.

alternative to autorun

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.

autorun alternative

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.

autorun alternative


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.

autorun alternative

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.

windows autorun

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.


windows autorun

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.

alternative to autorun

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!

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  1. therentabrain
    December 15, 2015 at 4:38 am

    I tried Codestuff Starter on XP and Windows 7, on several computers. I love the interface, but it does NOT show the keys in "HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\microsoft\windows\currentversion\run". It only shows the "Machine Run" in 32-bit. MSConfig shows a lot of stuff running on my Windows 7 computers that I didn't know about, no thanks to Starter. :(

  2. Lisa Santika Onggrid
    January 2, 2013 at 4:36 pm

    You've got a lot of program running at startup. May I know how's your computer performance, and how much RAM you've got? Can near-full (I mean really close to) harddisk bog down your startup time?
    My laptop has 2GB RAM and I have to keep no more than ten program to ensure the speed. That screenshot says you have 23.

    • Craig Snyder
      January 9, 2013 at 9:54 pm

      We did a giveaway for the exact desktop I'm using right now: [Broken Link Removed]

      Even with so many items in startup, I have no complaints about the performance. Startup time can be a drag, but it's 30 extra seconds that I don't mind spending every one or two days.

      I'd recommend always keeping 10% available HD space, as there are moving parts of your drive. If you're on any modern version of Windows that schedules your disk to defragment automatically, the time to complete that operation can be severely crippled by a near-full disk.

      • Lisa Santika Onggrid
        January 10, 2013 at 5:54 pm

        That's cool. Unfortunately MUO giveaway exempts my country from physical giveaways (though I still don't know whether we qualify for reward exchange like the previous LaCie USB keys or not).
        What do you mean by every one or two days? So it's not your main machine?
        I'll take note of the last part. Last week my drive reached 4% free (forgot to keep watch on the free space in download spree) and it's slow as hell. What do 'moving parts' have anything to do with near-full drive?

  3. ion popa
    January 1, 2013 at 4:55 pm

    I've been using it... Autoruns seems to be better

  4. sbostedor
    January 1, 2013 at 2:45 pm

    Autoruns is already as small and portable as it gets. Its a stand alone executable that can be downloaded from This sounds like a paid review to me. Discard as spam.

    • Lisa Santika Onggrid
      January 2, 2013 at 4:36 pm

      Your mileage may vary, I guess.

    • Craig Snyder
      January 9, 2013 at 9:51 pm

      It's stated clearly in the article that this is an alternative to Autoruns, and I go as far as to hint towards Autoruns being my opinion of the better software. It's silly to think that everyone shares my same opinion (or yours for that matter), and it's a little distasteful to label the article as "spam" or a "paid review" (which we don't do here) just because the application isn't your cup of tea.

      Be more receptive of articles that highlight alternatives to your favorite software and eventually you may find something new that you like!

  5. Anonymous
    January 1, 2013 at 11:37 am

    However, I don't need it on Windows 8, coz there's an improved task manager

  6. Ashwin Divakaran
    January 1, 2013 at 7:05 am

    This is so cool !! Much better than Autoruns.

    • Alex Schnapps
      January 1, 2013 at 12:43 pm

      I do not agree. Autoruns show even that wouldn't see the Starter.

    • Alex Schnapps
      January 1, 2013 at 12:47 pm

      It would be nice it would be if the Starter is update.