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A startup program is a program or application that runs automatically after the system has booted up. Startup programs are usually services that run in the background. Services in Windows are analogous to the daemons in Unix and Unix-like operating systems.
Startup programs are also known as startup items or startup applications.
A startup program is usually installed in order to monitor a device such as a printer or, in the case of software, to check for updates. Some of these programs are part of the operating system and most run in the background; in Windows, some of these can be seen as an icon in the taskbar.
In Windows versions prior to Windows 8, the list of startup programs could be found in the "Startup" tab of the System Configuration dialog box, which can be activated by typing "msconfig" in the Run dialog box of the Start menu. In Windows 8, the list is found in the "Start-up" tab of Task Manager. System Configuration now only contains a link to the latter.
Here, users may opt to disable third-party startup programs that they believe are not necessary, as these consume resources. Administrator rights may be required to do so.