Windows has an in-built utility called as the msconfig utility which, inter alia, list the programs which start up along with your Windows. There are some free software available too, which list down, to varying degrees, the programs which start up.
You can also see the list of Windows Registry Startup Paths for applications and programs.
However Autostart Explorer provides an exhaustive list of the locations, which are used by start up programs. Autostart Explorer is a powerful application that lists all auto-started files on your system. Unlike other similar utilities, which may list auto-started files from only certain locations such as the registry Run keys, Autostart Explorer has been designed to show every auto-started file on your system, no matter how obscure the location it is started from.
Moreover it also gives you some information about the locations, as a result of which you can a learn a lot too!
For instance win.ini is a start-up location. So what is win.ini file?
“The win.ini file contains the configuration entries “run=” and “load=”. Executables listed under these entries are started each time Windows starts.”
Feel inclined to check it out? Head over to its download page.
If you need to disable or remove some entries, there are several ways you can Disable, Control, Manage Startup programs in Windows. Have a look at this post.
Some of you might want to check out SysInternals Autoruns too.