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Stopping programs that launch at startup


© St. Petersburg Times, published October 2, 2000

Q. I loaded a 30-day trial for an anti-virus program. Now at startup I get a message saying that the trial period has ended and asking whether I want to continue. I have tried unsuccessfully to delete it.

Q. I downloaded updated versions 5.0 for America Online and Juno. Since then an open dialog box appears on my desktop at startup: "Click the program you want to use to open the file PROTOCOL." Opening it with Notepad shows that this file contains the Internet protocols as defined by RFC 1060 (Assigned Numbers), which is a copyright 1993-1995 Microsoft Corp. How can I prevent this dialog box from appearing?

A. Programs that put themselves in your PCs startup and then refuse to go away are a problem written about often. Fortunately there are only so many places programs can launch from on startup.

Windows 98 makes this easy to control: Run the System Information Tool (Start, Programs, Accessories, System Tools, System Information, or Start, Run, type MSINFO32 and press Enter). Select Tools, System Configuration Utility. From here you can selectively turn off the different areas within Windows from which programs run at startup. You'll see a tab for each area: Config.sys, Autoexec.Bat, System.ini, Win.ini (expand the Windows option and check the Load and Run lines) and Startup (this contains the programs that start from within the registry).

Windows 95 does not include the System Configuration Utility. Instead you'll need to look at the places that a program can launch at startup. The first and most obvious is the Startup folder (Start/Programs/Startup). To remove programs launched from startup, right click on the Start button, select Open, double-click Programs and then the Startup folder. I recommend moving to another folder (instead of deleting) any shortcuts found here that you no longer wish to load at startup. The next place to look is in the Win.ini file, which should be located in your Windows\System folder. Look for the application on either the LOAD= or the RUN= line. Remove the reference to the application name, save the file and reboot. The last place to look is in the System Registry. Before editing the Registry file, make a backup copy (Run RegEdit, then Registry, Export Registry File). The following registry key contains the applications that start automatically at startup: HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\
SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Run. Click the application to select it and then from the menu bar, Edit/Delete. Exit RegEdit and reboot.

Looking for Diamond disk

Q. I am trying to install Windows 95 over itself. I keep getting a message to put in a Diamond disk. What is a Diamond disk? Where can I find one?

A. Diamond is the manufacturer of your video adapter. Check to see if you have the video driver diskette that came with your system or download the latest from the Diamond Web site:

Defrag keeps running

Q. My Windows 98 ScanDisk and Defragmenter run for days and never finish. Why?

A. Any activity on the disk drive will make Defragmenter restart. Make sure all programs (including anti-virus software and screen savers) are inactive when you start.

Internet Explorer tip

As an alternative to the usual bookmarking of a Web site in Internet Explorer's Favorites, you can drag the Internet Explorer icon in the Address bar to your Desktop. Now clicking on this desktop shortcut will start Internet Explorer and load that site.

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