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Author Topic: Win Patrol Plus (Bits Du Jour- Fri) Chameleon Startup Manager, Startup Organizer  (Read 16585 times)
Steven Avery
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« on: March 11, 2009, 10:29:26 AM »

Hi Folks,

WinPatrol Plus discount on Friday - I placed this on the found sales and discounts.  However here we could compare these three products and any others that are of similar quality.  Let's mostly pass by the freebies, especially those that are not actively developed and supported or products that are not as hefty and stable, even if good products.

WinPatrol Plus on Bits Du Jour - Friday  2/13/09 - $14.95
http://www.bitsdujour.com/software/winpatrol-plus/

Personally I think a good startup manager is one of the utilities that are worth a small investment -- over freeware.
(WinPatrol also has a decent free version, possibly the best of the freeware alternatives.)  A good startup organizer gives a firewall visibility type of help, may have some HIPS (Win Patrol Plus may have the most) and it can help with the startup issues like multiple startup configurations and startup delays -- and also just plain visibility, what starts where, programs and services.  Two of these three products add more extra features, although many of us may handle those through other software like a task manager or a HIPS program.  A good solid alarm (this new program will start up next time .. allow or rollback) is almost indispensable. In my experience the firewall products have not been strong on this protection .. although theoretically they should have such a user help.

The three that I like most are:

Startup Organizer - Metaproducts ($25 .. formerly DC discount 02/2008)
http://www.metaproducts.c.../mp/Startup_Organizer.htm
Support Forum - Mild activity
http://www.metaproducts.c...rum/Forums_Post.asp?id=14

Chameleon Startup Manager ($24.95 - 40% DC Discount = $15 ) No forum
http://www.neosoft-tools....ndows-startup-manager.htm
Free, Standard and Pro versions.

WinPatrol Plus - BillP Studios - no forum, nice blog and FAQ
http://www.winpatrol.com/
Free and Pro versions

In my limited experience:

Startup Organizer is the simplest, is well-organized and easy to understand and is very reliable.

Chameleon has more features.  Note some design similarity to SO.

Win Patrol Plus also is feature-rich - perhaps with a wider variety and stronger malware awareness

There are another couple of dozen alternatives and some reasonable freeware. For most uses I recommend having one of the above. ...   I started with Startup Organizer years ago so I tend to be sympathetic, yet the other two may have passed it by some.  All three have gotten almost uniformly good mention on DonationCoder.  The techies may have a preference for programs like Autoruns with the Sysinternals heritage, however the emphasis here I hope to be more simplicity and clarity and moderate-tech usability smiley .

Your thoughts ?  
Anybody ready to write up a start-up shoot-out ?

Shalom,
Steven Avery
« Last Edit: May 22, 2009, 12:34:35 PM by Steven Avery » Logged
superboyac
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« Reply #1 on: March 11, 2009, 10:33:47 AM »

Thanks Steven.  I'm curious about the comparisons also.  WinPatrol seems like a solid piece of software.  I've never used a startup manager except for a short time a couple of years ago, and I never really understood why I needed one.  To me, as long as I have a pretty fast computer, I don't need the manager.  But I don't know, I haven't thought about it too much.
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Steven Avery
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« Reply #2 on: March 11, 2009, 10:44:51 AM »

Hi Folks,

Right superboyac. I do not think about this in terms of speed, although it is true that when 20 programs try to load at once you can get log-jam city.  Yawn, take a break, hope there is no clash.

The idea is more for :

a) visibility - what really is loading, and where is it coming from. And which users is a program loading for, and maybe I want to change this and that.

b) security - why did that program go into a startup place, is that authorized ?  And .. oops .. an alert .. now such-and-such has changed, do I agree ?

c) multiple configurations
(rather than handle that through the clunkiness of additional "Users")

d) loading order - for some this may come to play

And speed --> (e). 
Which is especially the usage of easy-setup startup delays 

I think Chameleon is a lot stronger than Startup Organizer on the multiple configurations (the option of a prompt at the beginning of loading .. which config do you want?) .. that is from memory, I don't remember that feature on SO.

Maybe laters I will try to do more in at least listing the features at issue. Off to work.

Shalom,
Steven Avery
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bgd77
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« Reply #3 on: March 11, 2009, 10:54:17 AM »

I use Startup Control Panel and Startup Monitor from http://www.mlin.net/

Thay are free, simple, do not use to much resources and I have never had any troubles on XP.
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Steven Avery
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« Reply #4 on: March 12, 2009, 04:01:32 AM »

Hi Folks,

I use Startup Control Panel and Startup Monitor from http://www.mlin.net/ Thay are free, simple, do not use to much resources and I have never had any troubles on XP.

Very possibly the best of the current freeware, with mention also of WinPatrol Free and some more below smiley.  Apparently no more active development or support, Michael Lin has moved in other directions the last few years. (This was on another DC thread.) When I tried it I found the two programs instead of one a bit awkward and preferred Startup Organizer.  

====================================

DONATIONCODER threads, for those who want to come up to speed.

http://www.donationcoder....m/index.php?topic=13925.0
In need of a "system startup manager" 07/2008 - 1 pg.

http://www.donationcoder....m/index.php?topic=12743.0
IDEA? simple startup manager with timer 03/2008 - 1 pg. (delay feature)

http://www.donationcoder....m/index.php?topic=12356.0
AnVir - Task manager. Startup manager. Speed up boot time and performance. - 1 pg.

http://www.donationcoder....um/index.php?topic=7879.0
To manage the startup procedure 03/2007 - 1 pg (StartRight)

http://www.donationcoder....um/index.php?topic=7882.0
Startup manager 03/2007 - 1 pg (mentions about 10 programs)

http://www.donationcoder....um/index.php?topic=7301.0
Chameleon Startup Manager - discount - 2007-  3 pages - (discussion with Evgeni - developer)

http://www.donationcoder....um/index.php?topic=4420.0
Good programs for helping you manage what programs start with windows? 06/2007 3 pgs
(Good wide-ranging discussion)

Two of the Software Organizer mentions by Mouser
http://www.donationcoder....um/index.php?topic=5577.0
All MetaProducts Software - 30% Discount - 10/2006 1 pg.
http://www.donationcoder....m/index.php?topic=12052.0
February 2008 Discounts and Shareware Giveaway

http://www.donationcoder....rum/index.php?topic=686.0
startup/tasks manager? - 02/2006

========================================

FREEWARES

Generally the ones toward the top have more pizazz than the ones toward the bottom. There is a wide range here, from the simple to intermediate to the techie to helping with problems, an interesting assortment.  

Note that some may find programs that others miss, rather a critical issue if you are trying to be 100%.  (And their handling of 'services' will vary -- knowing that the distinction between services and applications can be gray.)  Looking around, some of these surprised me in various ways .. sleepers and unexpected authors of quality that have startup programs.  The first three are in both the free and paid sections.

WinPatrol Free (features compared to Plus) - Bill Pytlovany (BillP Studios, Scotia, NY, USA)
http://www.winpatrol.com/whyplus.html?index
The Plus difference is HIPS, malware detection.
Recommended unless you have this well handled by other programs.

Chameleon Startup Manager Free -  Evgeni Shmakov (Russia) - see next post below

StartEd Lite - Outertech - (Germany) Linkman developers  (StartEd Pro = $20)
http://www.outertech.com/...sma_page=product&id=9
"StartEd Lite, a special edition of StartEd without the backup feature, but completely free for private non-commercial use as well as for use in charity organizations and educational use."

=========

Windows Defender
(Microsoft Vista product available for XP)
http://www.microsoft.com/...aylang=en&mg_id=10134

Startup Control Panel - CPL - Mike Lin (NJ, USA) - excellent rep ..  no updates for some years
http://www.mlin.net/StartupCPL.shtml
Startup Monitor
http://www.mlin.net/StartupMonitor.shtml

RunAlyzer (from Spybot Search & Destroy - Patrick M. Kolla - PepiMK - Germany)
http://www.safer-networki...g/en/runalyzer/index.html
Forums
http://forums.spybot.info/forumdisplay.php?f=8

Autoruns - Sysinternals - Mark Russinovich and Bryce Cogswell, (now Microsoft, small outfit in WA, USA)
http://technet.microsoft....ysinternals/bb963902.aspx
Forum
http://forum.sysinternals...m/forum_topics.asp?FID=16
In Gizmo's "Cleanup Kit"  (01/2009)
http://www.techsupportale...jonathant-cleanup-kit.htm
With recommendation to use the bleepingcomputer database (below)

Starter - Codestuff - (09/2006 last update) - ADDED: Updates May 2009
http://codestuff.tripod.com/
Forum (active in 2009)
http://codestuff.7.forume...92074ceb3a589c39fa2593d7f

Runscanner - Geert Moernaut (Belgium) Freeware startup and hijack analyzer
http://www.runscanner.net/ % http://www.moernaut.com/

WhatInStartup (2009)
http://www.nirsoft.net/ut.../what_run_in_startup.html

Autostart and Process Viewer (APV) -  Konrad Papala - (Poland)
http://www.konradp.com/pr...start-and-process-viewer/

ASViewer - Diamond CS - (Perth, Australia)
http://www.diamondcs.com....reeutilities/asviewer.php
(Autostart locations below in techie and articles section)

a-squared HiJackFree - Emsi (Austria) - (Pro==Biz or support $20) updated 05/2008
http://www.hijackfree.com/en/
Forum
http://forum.emsisoft.com...ult.aspx?g=topics&f=3

StartRight - JoeJoe's (Jan 2007 Beta, active with ArsClip and other freeware)
http://www.joejoesoft.com/cms/showpage.php?cid=113

Startup Delayer - r2 Studios - Cliff Cawley - (Brisbane Australia)
http://www.r2.com.au/soft...age=2&show=startdelay

Auto Run Manager - Revo (Bulgaria) with the fine uninstaller "VS Revo Group"
http://www.revouninstalle...ager_startup_manager.html

OSAM - Online Solutions AutoRun Manager (Russia, v 4.0 released 09/2009)
http://www.online-solutio.../osam_autorun_manager.php
Forum
http://forum.online-solutions.ru/viewforum.php?f=3

StartupList - Merijn Bellekom (Holland) author of Hijack This - 2006
http://75.127.110.25/~merijn/programs.php
StartupListUI - (front-end by R2 of Long Beach, CA)
http://www.dslreports.com...root=security,1~mode=flat
(HijackThis in special security section below.)

Jockersoft Startup Delayer - (Italy - updated 09/2008) Donationware
http://www.jockersoft.com.../startupdelayer_index.php
Forum
http://www.jockersoft.alt...vista.org/forum/index.php

Mischel Autostart Explorer (2002) - Magnus Mischel, (British company)
http://www.misec.net/products/autostartexplorer/
Forum (active support - 2009)
http://www.misec.net/forum/board/AExp

Startup Manager by Brad Stowers (2003) (Australia)
http://f2.org/archive/software/startupmgr.html

A-spy v.0.09 -  Xiaoyu Zhang (Denmark)           
http://vipmeister.com/dl/aspy/aspy.html

Quick Startup - GlarySoft (China) (from their utilities suite)
http://www.glarysoft.com/quick-startup/

Startup Guard - Acelogix - (India)
http://www.acelogix.com/freeware.html
Informs of new entries, not full manager, can be used in tandem with the freebies
here that do not have a warning feature, as mentioned by a DC poster.
And there is an Auto-Start Manager in the commercial Acelogix Utilities package "Ace Utilities"
Forum
http://www.acelogix.com/forums/viewforum.php?f=3

Mz StartUp Manager -  Michael Zacharias (Greece)
http://www.mztweak.com/MzStart.html
Mz Services Manager
http://www.mztweak.com/MzServices.html

XenCare Startup Blaster (2008) - main product Softlock
http://www.xencare.com/si...oduct_startup_blaster.php
"Seattle, USA based software security solution provider .. offshore development site in Dhaka, Bangladesh."
Gives addy and phone # - forum is online and spammed (call and tell them !)

Startup Manager - Where's James  (pic is unimpressive, tho some niceties)
http://www.wheresjames.co...index.php?page=startupmgr
Startup Apps list
http://www.wheresjames.com/index.php?page=sa

st-m (Startup Manager) - Open Source - Glenn Van Loon - rereleased December 2008
http://startupmanager.org/
Forum
http://sourceforge.net/fo...forum.php?forum_id=462822

----
This last is quite unusual, first as Open Source and as Google ads lead to :
http://files.uberdownload...startup_manager/index.php
Startup Manager - Uber Downloads
And uber downloads is dubious.
That that may not be the st-m problem, simply a commercial venture taking advantage of open source. More research suggested, such as correspondence with Glenn and SourceForge.  Also loading for comparison, as the only open source in the group. (Followup: further research has not found any significant concern with uberdownloads nor any connection with Glenn.)

Windows XP Startup Tracker v3.8 - Updated 10/31/2003
http://www.dougknox.com/xp/utils/xp_starttrack.htm
Doug Knox has a good tweaks and fixes website.  The program has not been updated from 5+ years yet still was mentioned respectfully in the Bytes post since it creates a log file.  (Discussed below.)

WinStartup v1.00 (2005)
http://www.rjlsoftware.co.../winstartup/default.shtml

Startup Xpert - Enplase Research - (Ukraine) - screen pic looks too simple
http://enplase.com/pages/...tupXPert+description.html
Five other titles on Giveaway of the Day
http://www.giveawayofthed...ase-research-corporation/

Ashampoo StartUp Tuner 2
http://www2.ashampoo.com/.../product_2_0117___USD.htm

Startup Manager by Ali Keshavarz (Iran) (2007)
http://www.vcldeveloper.s...n.net/startup_manager.htm
Startup Manager Snapshots
http://www.vcldeveloper.serverheaven.net/

Startup Inspector (2007) - William Yang (London, England)
http://www.windowsstartup.com/startupinspector.php
Startup Monitor
http://www.windowsstartup.com/startupmonitor.php
Startup Inspector
Snapfiles reviews -- database is insufficient, program is sound.  This is a Pacman's Portal database however the last entry given is 2007.  And note that the "Forum" link is busted.  This program is mentioned positively in the Byte forum post below without these caveats.

StartupRun v1.22 - Nir Sofer (USA) (2004) - replaced by WhatinStartup above (2009)
http://www.nirsoft.net/utils/strun.html

================================

Top Task/Process Managers Freeware with Startup module

System Explorer (Czech Republic)
http://systemexplorer.mistergroup.org/

Anvir Task Manager Free (Russia)
http://www.anvir.com/task...nager-windows-startup.htm (features of free and Pro)
Startup Guard
http://www.anvir.com/new-startup-item.htm
Windows Startup, Startup Manager, Windows XP Startup, Startup Programs
http://www.anvir.com/wind...s-startup-programs-xp.htm
To receive stronger Anvir:  http://dottech.org/headline/7292
dotTech Exclusive: Free AnVir Task Manager!

===================================================

Cleaners (and Utility Suites) with startup managers or helps.

ccleaner - http://www.ccleaner.com/                   Piriform (USA)
Forum
http://forum.piriform.com...36fe59eb5&showforum=4

nCleaner - http://www.nkprods.com/ncleaner/        Boghiu Andrei (Romania)
Forum
http://www.nkprods.com/forum/index.php?board=3.0

Comodo System Cleaner
http://system-cleaner.comodo.com/
Forum
http://forums.comodo.com/...ryprivacy_cleaner-b124.0/
(Apparently this module was on, off, and is back on again.)

Advanced SystemCare Free v3 - Iobit
http://www.iobit.com/advancedwindowscareper.html
Forum
http://forums.iobit.com/forumdisplay.php?f=8
(Some concerns that Iobit is becoming more commercial-oriented.)

ProCleaner Freeware System Optimizer & Privacy Tool
http://procleaner.net/procleaner/
Not much info, 2007 launched and last update, carried by Major Geeks, have dll library
Company "Emergency Soft" sells History Killer, actively updated in 2009, and other softwares and recent webforum.

Note that Major Geeks warns that ccleaner simply uses msconfig, which would make it a limited tool.  The lighter programs in general may miss entries that are in less likely places.  Even Mike Lin's program was said to miss the (usually unused) windows.ini file.  This is one reason why you might want to go heavier weight and why a comparison can be very helpful -- startup programs are here and there and under the rug.

================================================

TECH AUTO-START

http://freeware.wikia.com...tostart_and_other_listers
Autostart and other listers

http://www.diamondcs.com....es/autostartlocations.php
Diamond CS - Autostart Locations

=====

Freeware HIPS with some STARTUP Guard

http://www.donationcoders.../kubicle/watcher/misc.htm
Tiny Watcher - (see the Startup Review) 2006 - Olivier Lombart
Leans towards techie oriented.

=====

SECURITY-ANALYSIS

Hijack This - Trend Micro current version
http://www.trendsecure.co...security_tools/hijackthis
Many Forums

===

Greatis Software - Russian Federation (USA Phone # listed)
SpyHolesLists - RegRun
http://www.greatis.com/security/spyholeslist.htm
Forum
http://www.greatissoftware.com/forums/

Regrun's Startup Monitor and Startup Optimizer are part of their:
RegRun Security Suite (various editions)
http://www.greatis.com/security/detail.htm

====

SystemScan Guide
http://www.suspectfile.com/systemscan_guide.php

Silent Runners
http://www.silentrunners.org/

====

FreeFixer - Kephyr Software - Roger Karlsson
Based on Startup locations analysis and makes a log with large whitelist component.
http://www.freefixer.com/ - nice manual and blog info
Helper Forums
http://www.freefixer.com/manual.html#helperforums
Google Forum
http://groups.google.com/group/freefixer-forum/
Google is apparently the active forum, rather than SecurityWonks.
http://www.securitywonks...._fireboard/Itemid,26.html
Wilders - FreeFixer
http://www.wilderssecurit...m/showthread.php?t=197385

Keep in mind that such log programs as this one or HijackThis do not look at the actual files, size, hash #s or anything, only the names, so counterfeit names are not caught. For that you need to catch them with HIPS, or perhaps when they try to install themselves with a startup manager.  (Although clearly a simple cross-reference that the program is actually running and functioning sensibly can be very helpful and a prima facie case for security for that entry.)  And if you are walking into an existing puter cold the situation is a bit different.  In fact this caveat exists more-or-less for startup analysis in general.

WEBFORUMS

http://75.127.110.25/~merijn/forums.php
Merijn (HijackThis)
Lists 38 forums that help with HijackThis logs, which are often startup malware issues
(Note: HijackThis was sold to TrendMicro in 03/2007)

Similarly Wilders recommends "SpywareInfo, Bleeping Computer, Geeks to Go, Gladiator Security, Malware Removal, WhattheTech (formerly TomCoyote)"
http://www.wilderssecurit...om/showthread.php?t=42148

===========================================================================

Returning to general Startup Programs

FREE vs. PURCHASE

The paid niche still stands strong, imho, with the StartEd program also worthy of careful consideration, since Linkman is a good recommendation.  

WinPatrol Plus (shortly WinPatrol 2009)
Chameleon Startup Manager
Startup Organizer - Metaproducts

Would be the three paid I would most recommend for comparison.

StartEd Pro is in consideration as well, based on knowing that Linkman is a very fine program. However I do not see that it gives an immediate warning about added programs.  

Similarly:

The Ultimate Troubleshooter - $30
http://www.answersthatwor...pages/TUT_information.htm
Is involved in the task lists and related issues and have a good rep.

The PC Mag - Startup Cop Pro (SCP) has gotten a bunch of discussion too, since those who have a PC Mag magazine software subscription get it in their bundle.  However it seems to have stumbled a bit.

There may be a couple of gems in the other dozen or more paid programs.  Absolute Startup Manager, Arrange Startup (avoid-Avanquest related), Innovative Startup Firewall, Startup Guru, Startup Juggler, Startpro, Startup Genie and others.  However few of these have been noted as feature-rich and competitive to date, a couple had nice pics and explanations.  Special caution on the Google ads .. they can lead to rogueware products like Regcure. Or they may lead to a mediocre product for some $.  

Also some quality software might have a startup manager in their commercial product.  
eg. Regrun was mentioned above, since they also have a free startup program.
Here is one that many like.

jv16 PowerTools 2009 - Macecraft - (Finland and USA office)
http://www.macecraft.com/

======

The paid-for program should have most or all of these features.

1) Good interface - Usability - Stability

2) Alerts and rollback on Startup Changes

3) Multiple Configuration, preferably with an option to allow choosing config at startup

4) Startup Delay capabilities

5) Complete analysis of startup places, including the arcane

6) Direct interface with startup-file database

7) Developer Support (and web-forum or email forum community/support is excellent)
    With ongoing enhancements.

=======================================================================

SOLID REVIEW ARTICLES (Jonathan, Gizmo, Lifehacker)

Returning to the main crew:

Oh, Jonathan looked at three ( Mike Lin's, WinPatrol and Starter from Codestuff ) at:
http://jonathanstoolbar.b...ontrol-your-startups.html - 02/2007
#11 Control Your Startups

And Gizmo looked most at WinPatrol, Mike Lin's, Codestuff Starter, Autorun and StartupRun from Nir Sofer.
And a bunch of good comments.
http://www.techsupportale...-free-startup-manager.htm
Gizmo - Best Free Startup Manager - 7/21/2008

And Lifehacker had many good comments.
http://lifehacker.com/508...eding-up-your-pcs-startup
The Complete Guide to Speeding Up Your PC's Startup - Gina Trapani - 11/2008

====

GENERAL STARTUP TECH

http://forums.majorgeeks....m/showthread.php?t=149804
Major Geeks - How to deal with startup processes - do not use MSconfig - 01/2008

http://www.softwaretipsan...lications/howtoremove.php
How to Remove Startup Applications - By Pacman's Portal

http://www.pacs-portal.co.uk/startup_content.php
Pacman's Portal Start Up Tips

http://www2.whidbey.com/djdenham/index.htm
Resource Management

http://support.microsoft.com/kb/270035/
How to disable programs that run when you start Windows XP Home Edition or Windows Vista

http://www.smartcomputing...s1702%2F13s02%2F13s02.asp
Manage Your Startup Programs - Quicken Your PC’s Pace From Start To Finish (2006)

=================================

WHY A HIGH-CLASS TOOL IS BEST

http://gladiator-antiviru...index.php?showtopic=24610
A Collection of Autostart Locations
Tony Klein 2005-last updated 2008

Recommend this be at least skimmed. You will learn a lot about why most of the programs are insufficient as startup tools.  It would be an interesting test to see how well these are covered by various HIPS and Startup programs.

Note: Tony Klein also is involved in the program and malware lists at:
http://www.systemlookup.com/lists.php
SystemLookup - Browse by List

And here is a similarly comprehensive list developed from the "Silent Runners" script labours.

Silent Runners - Launch Points
http://www.silentrunners.org/sr_launchpoints.html
"Here are the registry keys, INI-file sections, files and folders that are checked by Silent Runners and the Operating Systems (O/S's) to which they apply"

http://www.systemlookup.com/lists.php?list=2
Startup List  
This is related to the sysinfo.org Paul Collins (Pac-man) lists mentioned below.

And here is a discussion in 2003 about these locations involving Merijn of StartupList and with a graph that can be compared to the later Tony Klein "Collection"
http://www.dslreports.com...721512~days=9999~start=80
Startup Reprised - but not completed...
(AutoStart Explorer, AutoRuns, Autostart Viewer also in the graph.)

=======================================================================

AND STARTUP DATABASES THAT APPEAR TO BE CURRENT AND ACTIVE

http://www.sysinfo.org/startuplist.php
"Paul Collins (aka Pacman), a British engineer, runs this site and maintains its more than 10,000 startup items."
Mentioned many places .. quote from Manage article above.
Startup Applications List - Pacman's Portal - Paul Collins (formerly hosted on now-defunct Castlecops)
Forum
http://forums.spybot.info/forumdisplay.php?f=56
http://forums.spybot.info/showthread.php?t=46841 03/19/09
"Just thought I'd let you know that throughout 2009 and in the foreseeable future I'm going to be personally verifying many of the Y, U, N & ? entries in the startup list.  As far as I'm aware, most of the others lists that have sprung up out there since I started aren't doing this." - Paul Collins

http://www.bleepingcomputer.com/startups/
BleepingComputer.com -> Startup Programs Database
Forum (active)
http://www.bleepingcomput...r.com/forums/forum85.html

http://www.greatis.com/appdata/
Greatis (Regrun) - Application database

=======================================================================

Note: some additions made through 3/13/09 AM .. later will use added posts.

Shalom,
Steven
« Last Edit: May 25, 2009, 06:35:59 PM by Steven Avery » Logged
superboyac
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« Reply #5 on: March 12, 2009, 10:21:57 AM »

Wow, Steven.  I nominate you for poster of the month!  That is good info there.  Thanks.
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« Reply #6 on: March 12, 2009, 11:34:44 AM »

Wow, Steven.  I nominate you for poster of the month!  That is good info there.  Thanks.

Yes - excellent post, Steven  Thmbsup
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« Reply #7 on: March 12, 2009, 11:52:49 PM »

Hi Folks,

Welcome guys.  This is more an "overview" research thread .. the real work will be when someone takes the top five paid programs and a number of freewares and really does a neato review !  Overall, it is interesting what you find out about the topic and the software industry when you look at one utility closely. The good, the bad and the ugly and the elegant.

Good news from Chameleon.  They have a freebie version, hard to find on their website, yet downloadable here and there on the solid shareware and freeware sites.  So I wrote to them and got an excellent reply from Evgeni (also a good, quick separate reply on a minor technical issue).

======
CHAMELEON STARTUP MANAGER - Neo-Soft
======

Now available version 2.65:
http://www.neosoft-tools....m/files/cstartup_free.zip

Limitations of the free version are:
- Definition of only one task
- Launch delay option for just one program
- 'Save' feature for only three configurations
- Startup profile selection at Windows startup is unavailable

====================================

None of these look like deal-breakers, all make sense as legit differences between a paid version and a free version (only three configuration is especially not a hindrance) .. thus Chameleon joins the free group (I am adding them above).

Since these programs are inexpensive (Evgeni does not mention support differences, we can ask him) I would still tend towards purchasing.  There is something really crisp about a straight purchase (with a DonationCoder or Bits Du Jour discount when possible) of an inexpensive and good utility software product.  And having the full, best product. Imho.

Although I have hesitations on Trialpay (discussed elsewhere) that can be mentioned here for this program as well.  (My hesitations on Trialpay are when they 'partner' with dubious software products, like in the "registry cleaning" world, causing me personally to hesitate to use them.  However many of their software partners are very solid, like Chameleon.)

Incidentally Snapfiles lists Neo-Soft as UK, while I think Ukraine is accurate.  Did the UK at the start confuse them ?

Oh, I removed a reference to Procleaner above (next to ccleaner and ncleaner) simply because I could not find real info about the software.  It has a MajorGeeks entry but no names attached or anything.  All entries above are meant to have 'personality' - to avoid possible adware and commecial-nonsense marketing-first products.  This one was a close call since it appeared to be freeware, however a product could exist mostly as a Google-marketing segue.  Real personality is necessary.

05/2009 - ProCleaner reference returns with additional ino.

Let me point out that I find Linkman (and formerly Powermarks) invaluable on a project like this.  Where I use my bookmarks as a PIM and go mostly straight from URLs to post.  By using "Startup" as a keyword I keep the info together, lots of little notes are in the "Name field" and I do a bit of clumping by alphabetizing.

Shalom,
Steven Avery
« Last Edit: May 25, 2009, 06:36:56 PM by Steven Avery » Logged
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« Reply #8 on: March 13, 2009, 03:04:04 AM »

Very fine job, Steven.  thumbs up  thumbs up
- and while you're at it: Give us more!   Cool

Well-deserved donation sent your way.
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« Reply #9 on: March 15, 2009, 04:13:48 AM »

Hi,

I am the developer of the Chameleon Startup Manager.

I wish to add, that version 3.0 beta 1 will be soon available.
Full support for Windows Vista x64 and Windows 7 beta 1.

Preliminary screenshots can be looked here:
http://www.chameleon-mana...ers.com/screenshots/1.png
http://www.chameleon-mana...ers.com/screenshots/2.png
http://www.chameleon-mana...ers.com/screenshots/3.png
http://www.chameleon-mana...ers.com/screenshots/4.png

P.S. I from Russia  Cool
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« Reply #10 on: March 15, 2009, 10:13:57 AM »

Hi Folks,

Thanks, Evgeni.

I made the change above, I had Evgeni from Ukraine (oops).

Also Comodo System Cleaner was added above, since they have a startup module and definitely are a solid company for free utilities these days.  Also added Iobit's Advanced System Care Free.

Overall, I think this software category is an excellent example of why suites and utility packages are often less effective than a dedicated program.  WinPatrol Plus really shines on the security issues, Chameleon really is very strong on interface and configuration options.  I'm planing on trying to determine whether I consider the two as overlapping yet complementary.  Also Chameleon and StartEd can use a direct comparison, with the configuration flexibility pluses of Chameleon very much in mind.  I'm beginning to think that WinPatrol Plus is virtually a must-have for the variety and depth and strength of the security protections (more on that planned later).

Shalom,
Steven Avery
« Last Edit: March 16, 2009, 02:26:56 AM by Steven Avery » Logged
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« Reply #11 on: March 15, 2009, 10:19:10 AM »

Hi,

I am the developer of the Chameleon Startup Manager.

I wish to add, that version 3.0 beta 1 will be soon available.
Full support for Windows Vista x64 and Windows 7 beta 1.
Happy Chameleon user here. Have to say v3 looks very promising. Thanks for making a good product!
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« Reply #12 on: March 15, 2009, 10:34:40 AM »

Happy Chameleon user here. Have to say v3 looks very promising. Thanks for making a good product!

I am glad that you liked screenshots.
I finish testing and in a current of 1-2 weeks the program will be available.
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« Reply #13 on: March 15, 2009, 10:58:29 AM »

evgeni: For some reason there's a Download full version in the menu bar... what's that about? Clicking it downloads latest version, but it's still there. I'm a registered user (through TrialPay) so a little baffled by this.

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« Reply #14 on: March 15, 2009, 11:37:23 AM »

evgeni: For some reason there's a Download full version in the menu bar... what's that about? Clicking it downloads latest version, but it's still there. I'm a registered user (through TrialPay) so a little baffled by this.

I have responded by mail, to the address of registration of the program on gmail.com
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« Reply #15 on: March 15, 2009, 11:54:24 AM »

Problem solved, thanks smiley
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« Reply #16 on: March 15, 2009, 02:19:43 PM »

evgeni:

One other item which I wrote to you about: Check for Updates. Please get that working!

Currently clicking that opens your browser, to the download, downloads it, and then directs you to install it. But it never tells you what version it is. I have installed the same version three times, thinking I must be getting newer builds or why else would it download and install? Turns out that as many times as you click "Check for Updates", you'll get to install the same version over and over.

Also please consider allowing installation on a notebook and desktop computer by the same licensed user. Even if it requires some additional cost (but not too much!!!) for the license.

Thanks!

Jim
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« Reply #17 on: March 15, 2009, 02:38:15 PM »

Hi, Jim

One other item which I wrote to you about: Check for Updates. Please get that working!

Currently clicking that opens your browser, to the download, downloads it, and then directs you to install it. But it never tells you what version it is. I have installed the same version three times, thinking I must be getting newer builds or why else would it download and install? Turns out that as many times as you click "Check for Updates", you'll get to install the same version over and over.
In version 2 errors will be corrected only.
I will provide such check in version 3.
Also please consider allowing installation on a notebook and desktop computer by the same licensed user. Even if it requires some additional cost (but not too much!!!) for the license.
You can do it. I will more obviously write it to versions 3.
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« Reply #18 on: March 15, 2009, 02:42:14 PM »

Thanks evgeni. Looking forward to CSM3!

Jim
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« Reply #19 on: March 19, 2009, 05:50:38 AM »

evgeni: would it be possible to beta test v3 anytime soon?
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« Reply #20 on: March 19, 2009, 07:32:29 AM »

evgeni: would it be possible to beta test v3 anytime soon?

Hi, Christian
The program will be accessible to all in a current of 1-2 weeks. I now finish testing.
If you want, I can allow to download to you the current version.
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« Reply #21 on: March 19, 2009, 08:32:01 AM »

That would be much appreciated, evgeni smiley
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« Reply #22 on: March 19, 2009, 08:54:19 AM »

That would be much appreciated, evgeni smiley


I sent a link to e-mail
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« Reply #23 on: March 19, 2009, 11:53:35 AM »

Hi Folks,

Some additions and changes on the big post above, especially the mention of :

ADDITIONS TO FIRST POST

Windows Defender - Microsoft
Autorun Manager (OSAM - Online Solutions Autorun Manager)
JV16 - Macecraft
A-Spy - Xiaoyu Zhang
WinStartup - RJL Software
Windows XP Startup Tracker v3.8 - Doug Knox (2003)
Greatis (Regrun) Database
Pacman's Portal Startup Tips Webpage and more info

=========================

LOG FILES USED FOR ANALYSIS
 
One security usage of a startup program is to give a list that can be analyzed by others to help find concerns and problems.  The most heavily used log is:

Hijackthis combined with StartupList - as explained above, sold by Merijn to Trend Micro
TrendMicro HijackThis Overview
http://www.trendsecure.co...security_tools/hijackthis
Piriform has a simple post explaining
http://forum.piriform.com...index.php?showtopic=10965
And above I reference the pages of Wilders and Mirijn that link to many forums that do HijackThis analysis. It is possible that Trend Micro will be a dead-end, which often happens when software is picked up by the larger companies. Note: "the HijackThis WhiteList. HJT "Hides" some Known legit entries."

WinPatrol Hijack log - (free and pro)
"The WinPatrol Hijack log includes all but about two items that HijackThis includes but we adds about a dozen more items which people have requested.  The log format is designed to make it easier for forum helpers but I have heard it’s compatible with some of the automated hijack readers." - note from BillP (his blog is highly recommended).
Here is a recent blog post that shows the log and discusses other features.
http://billpstudios.blogs...-try-winpatrol-again.html
Top Ten Reasons to Try WinPatrol Again - 12/04/2008

RunScanner - "Save to text log file"
Most recent Wilder's thread
http://www.wilderssecurit...&highlight=runscanner         
Runscanner 1.8.0.0 released  (02/2009)

Autoruns for Windows v9.39
http://technet.microsoft....ysinternals/bb963902.aspx

Silent Runners
Good description here on Byte forum post.
http://bytes.com/topic/wi...programs-dealing-autoruns
The purpose of Silent Runners is to identify the programs that start up with Windows. The original author of Silent Runners is Andrew Aronoff (although many have contributed to development of the script). According to Silent Runners website- "Silent Runners is not an anti-virus, an anti-trojan, or a spyware scanner. It only pinpoints how programs start up i.e. it does not scan the system to identify every trace of malware. The text file it creates can be removed for study or stored as a benchmark". The script changes absolutely nothing on your system other than adding its report file. It has no option to change anything and no such option will ever be added. (continues with urls)

AutoStart Viewer (ASViewer)- DiamondCS
http://www.diamondcs.com....reeutilities/asviewer.php
"- Save/Print functions allow you to take snapshots "

One simple way to see the tone and usage of some of these logs (in addition to the lists mentioned above about forums that are HijackThis friendly) is simply to put "RunScanner log" "Autoruns log" and such into Google. e.g You will find threads at "PC Help Forums" and "Geeks to Go" and "WhattheTech" and others.  Just be aware that many of these forums (not all) are weak in the ads they have. It is sad to see ads for negative software (e.g. scamware or even potentially rogueware) on sites that are meant to help the user .. one of the excellent aspects of DonationCoder ! (Have I made my donation today ?)

==============================================================

Those are the ones most likely to be received on the forums, although I have little familiarity with the actual usage today.  

Also of note, considering the excellent rep of Nir Sofer.

NirSoft - StartupRun (2004)
"Save the list of startup items into a text or HTML files" - Byte forum post

There are other logs (the Byte post also mentions one or two more Startup logs of less interest):
Wilder mentions:
"Spybot S&D, Ad-aware, plus the new generation of Anti-Rootkit detection logs (gmer, rkunhooker, etc.) and other similar product logs."  -- however those mentioned above seem to be "Startup" specialists.  (I'm also looking at "RemoveAny" where there is a log email capability, however the way it is currently set up may encourage a newbie to be too aggressive in removal and it does not think in terms of programs at startup.  This is true of a few of the log file programs, they are process or .dll techie-oriented, not startup program oriented.

One thing worth noting.  WinPatrol is the only real active program (StartupList and StartupRun are not real active) in this whole group that first approaches the issue as "Startup Programs" and then is drilling down to a report-log as a complementary feature as well.  Most of the others begin more from the techie level of logging everything that happens.  The multi-aspect of WinPatrol makes it a fan favorite.

========================================

THE FOUR OF THE THREAD - CHAMELEON, WINPATROL, STARTED, STARTUP MANAGER

Thank you Evgeni for contributing.  I think Evgeni's Chameleon and WinPatrol and Outertech's StartEd are three of the more active and vibrant products around, all with free/lite and paid versions.  And all discussions with the developers, or feedback from their blogs and support, are very welcome.

Personally I think a startup manager is one utility that deserves a paid version if the features match your needs well.

(Metaproduct's Startup Organizer is also mentioned above, it is a fine product, still developed, solid. I do not see that the developers are quite as active and visible, although 2.9 is Feb 2009 with a service relaease March 2009.  However this was 3+ years from 2.8. What it does it does well, in my experience.  Here are the screenshots, complete although small. http://www.metaproducts.c...Organizer-Screenshots.htm .  The plus of SO is that it combines the Explorer interface with easy changes with some configuration flexibility with decent warnings (similar to Scotty).  Are they as up on hidden spots as Scot ? Dunno. Waiting for someone to do a comparison review !)

There are real interface and emphasis differences. And I can see working with two (WinPatrol + one more) instead of one and folks will have different needs.  e.g. WinPatrol simply does not have that easy-to-see Explorer type review of all startup functions.  Those who value that highly will gravitate to one of the other softwares.

WinPatrol is strong on security issues among the startup managers, a big plus to many, myself included. Yet some work with more dedicated HIPS and registry protection programs and may find WinPatrol redundant.  (And some reject post-facto protection for real-time protection .. note that this is one area where WinPatrol Plus is stronger than free. Although how real-time is a Wilder's type of discussion.) And the tabbed interface of WinPatrol is quite different than the Explorer-style of many programs.  As an example of the WinPatrol security emphasis, in addition to the log above, WinPatrol has a tab for the Windows Scheduler .. early in the day Bill Pytlovany noted that a crafty malware could use that for startup. Bill clearly thinks from a defense and security perspective, which is neat.

A current Wilder's thread on WinPatrol:
http://www.wilderssecurit.../showthread.php?p=1426907
Winpatrol .. Tips Please!

On any security-oriented product it is suggested to do a search within Wilder's - good stuff, although you can end up a bit perplexed about the abundance of HIPS and sandbox and malware and firewall and browser protection and other programs (even putting aside the ugly morass of 'anti-virus' heuristic analysis).  Also I think sandboxes and virtual machines can get pretty ugly at times, well-intentioned as they are.  

One thing I like about startup analysis -- fairly easy to understand.  Even if a program tells you 'late' (ie. a trojan installed and did something bad) at least you likely will know it and can decide between removal attempts, restore attempts such as system restore or registry restore or the ultimate cleanup -- OS reinstallation followed by increased protection and caution. Hopefully this is rare, or never.  (Yes there are very sophisticated attempts that might hide, such as rootkit stuff.  This is one reason why the security folks are putting more emphasis into things like browser and registry protection and watching OS files, I recently added MJ Registry Watcher.) Keep in mind that all of this is largely because Windows remains a kludge-style operating system in terms of non-protection of OpSys functions. So we balance the advantages (easy software functionality) with the problems.

ADDED 3/20/09 - Autoruns and RunScanner - used for logs, plus expanded comments

Shalom,
Steven Avery
« Last Edit: March 20, 2009, 08:03:38 AM by Steven Avery » Logged
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« Reply #24 on: March 30, 2009, 08:34:21 AM »

I announced Chameleon Startup Manager version 3 in this thread
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