Biggest Windows Flaw Also Most Annoying Windows Problem
There have been many bugs, issues, and design flaws in Microsoft Windows over the years. Many of them have been chased out of the operating system. Others did not exist in earlier versions only to pop up later, typically as a new "feature" that nobody wanted. However, the most annoying Windows flaw still exists in Windows 7.
Autoruns 10 Utility Shows All Startup Locations
Nothing exposes a big computer programming flaw like a software utility created to fix that bug. Autoruns is a Windows based utility that does just one simple thing. Autoruns shows you all of the programs and services set to run at startup on a Windows computer system. Only, it is NOT a simple thing.
Originally, the only programs that started running automatically at boot up were those that were required by the operating system in order to make the computer work. However, programs added to the folder labeled "Startup" on Windows computers would also run at startup.
It turns out that people don’t necessarily want a bunch of programs automatically running every time that they start up their computer. In fact, most people would rather start programs when, and only when, they needed to use them. So, savvy computer users began deleting programs out of the Startup menu and the race between crappy, bloated, software and computer system users was on.
Software developers can’t wean themselves off the crutch of starting their software automatically or pre-loading some or all of a computer program at boot time. Microsoft kicked this trend off by putting a Microsoft Office toolbar that nobody wanted – especially when they found out how much system power it wasted to run – in the startup folder. Other software developers followed cramming toolbars and other useless items into the various start at boot locations available on Windows operating system computers.
Bloated Adobe Acrobat Reader
Adobe became the poster child for system resource abuse when it began pre-loading a hefty chunk of its overweight Acrobat Reader at boot time.
As PDF files became a more commonly used format, the glaring bloat and inefficiency of Adobe software became more apparent to even non-expert computer users. When users were browsing a website with their Internet browser and clicked on a link that was to a PDF file, nothing happened.
Actually, that isn’t really true. What was true, was that nothing SEEMED to happen. What was actually happening, was that Adobe Acrobat Reader was struggling to load its enormous self in order to display the PDF link. It took literally 10 seconds on some well configured computers for a PDF page to load the first time. It got so bad that people stopped clicking on PDF links because they knew that meant a long weight for even a one-page document. In addition, savvy computer users turned to Acrobat Reader alternatives written by other developers.
In response, instead of re-coding and streamlining it Heifer of a PDF viewer, Adobe chose instead to penalize every computer in the world with Adobe Reader installed by pre-loading part of its software at startup and leave it running the whole time the computer was in use just so that its reader would appear to start faster. Of course, if you are going to abuse people’s system resources, you need to hide it and make sure that they don’t just delete a shortcut or something to end pre-loading the bloated software.
As it turns out there are literally hundreds, or maybe even thousands, of ways that a software developer can force their applications or utilities to run at start up time on a Windows computer. Unfortunately, there are far fewer ways that users can view and manage all of these vampire processes that suck the performance blood out of computer systems.
Using MSCONFIG to configure which programs run at startup is a joke. Not only can programs easily re-add themselves to startup whenever you do end up running them, MSCONFIG only shows a tiny fraction of the ways that software can be installed to run at bootup. Autoruns 10 was recently released by the folks at Sysinternals (which was acquired by Microsoft, at least in part, no doubt, to stem the tide of data that made Microsoft Windows look bloated, badly configured, and deeply flawed).
Autoruns 10 claim to fame is that it is the most comprehensive startup manager utility in existence because it scans hundreds more potentially hidden startup locations than other startup configuration manager software does.
Does anyone else see the painful irony here?
In order for the user to be able to make their computer do what they want it to do, they need a special extra tool to sniff out and find all the tricks software development companies use to get the computer to do what the software company wants regardless of what the user wants.
Considering the slow boot time was one of the top reasons people hate Vista so much, you would think that Microsoft would want to put an end to this practice. After all, part of the reason Vista boots so slow and one of the things that can drag the bootup time for Windows XP and the startup time for Windows 7 is all of these auto-starting programs. It doesn’t make the poor quality software that these companies sell look bad, it makes Windows look bad. A quick load would be one way to make people love Windows 7.
Unfortunately, Microsoft depends on these tricks as much as other computer companies, so until they can get their own house in order, users only defense against rogue programs wasting resources is vigilant use of programs like Sysinternals AutoRuns to keep programs from adding themselves to one of the numerous hidden startup locations. Of course, in order to really watch your computer’s resources, you’ll need another third-party utility by, you guessed it, Sysinternals.
Process Explorer is what Task Manager should be, except Task Manager allows software companies to hide what programs and processes they are actually running from Task Manager so, once again, they can look like their software runs better than it really does.
Get Autoruns 10. There isn’t anything else you can do.