How to Use the Autoruns Program

Autoruns Results
Screenshot of Autoruns under Everything Tab

This is the third post in a series on “cleaning” your machine. The instructions are for a PC using the free program Autoruns from Sysinternals.

This is for Windows based operating systems

Before following this post, refer to the previous posts on Delete Junk Files and Defrag Hard Drive(s) and Partitions.


This utility, which has the most comprehensive knowledge of auto-starting locations, shows you what programs are configured to run during system bootup or login, and when you start various built-in Windows applications like Internet Explorer, Explorer and media players. These programs and drivers include ones in your startup folder, Run, RunOnce, and other Registry keys. Autoruns reports Explorer shell extensions, toolbars, browser helper objects, Winlogon notifications, auto-start services, and much more. Autoruns goes way beyond other autostart utilities.

By default Autoruns starts by the Hide Signed Microsoft Entries option which helps you to zoom in on third-party auto-starting programs. Also, by default, the option to Hide Empty Locations is turned on. I recommend keeping these options.

You’ll probably be surprised at how many programs are launched automatically!

Running Autoruns:

  • Close all running programs
  • Empty your Recycle Bin
  • Click the following for Autoruns for Windows. We are going to just run the program instead of installing. If you want to install, click the download link at the top of the page and follow its instructions..
  • Click the Run Now from Sysinternals Live. Its located at the top underneath the download link. The autoruns.exe file should appear at the bottom of your screen.
  • Click on the file to run

The program has several options in the main menu to include File, Entry, Options and Help that you can explore. For our purposes, you want to know what entries cannot be found. To do this:

  • Click on each tab, like Logon, and look for any entry highlighted in yellow as shown in the image at the top of this post. At the end of the entry, the program will say “File Not Found”. Uncheck the box at the beginning of the entry. This lets Autoruns bypass this entry, in our case, on Logon. The Logon tab is the most important as it depicts what programs are loaded when you start your PC. If you want to stop a program on startup, just uncheck the box for the entry.
  • Do this for every tab at the top of the screen as shown below:
Autoruns Results
My screenshot for Logon Tab

When you uncheck a yellow highlighted entry, you may get the following popup dialog box:

If so, click on Run as Administrator and the program will restart giving you Admin privileges. Now you are able to uncheck the “File Not Found” entry(s).

Do this for every tab at the top of the program

Close Autoruns and any other running programs and reboot your PC.

I Would Like to Hear from You

Please feel free to leave a comment. I would love hearing from you. Do you have a computer tech question? I will do my best to answer your inquiry. Please mention the app and version that you are using. To help me out, you can send screenshots of your data related to your question.


Delete Junk Files
Defrag Hard Drive(s) and Partitions