System Tray Whack-a-Mole

By on January 27, 2004

One of my biggest pet peeves is Windows software that doesn’t run need to run all the time, but still feels the need to put some crappy icon in the system tray. Honestly, folks, there’s not much legitimate reason for Real Player and Quicktime to have components that start up every time I run my computer. To me, adding an unnecessary icon to my system tray is only slightly more polite than taking a dump on my front porch.

Mike Lin has written two great apps to help with this. One’s called Startup Control Panel, which provides a quick interface to view (and optionally remove) all of the things that start up when you log in. There are a half dozen places in the registry that do this, so it’s great to have them all together like this. I was amazed to find programs in there for about 8 shareware programs that I tried once and never used again.

Once you’re clean, you can stay that way with Startup Monitor, a very tiny app that runs in the background and lets you know when a program is trying to put more crap in your startup, and gives you the option of preventing it.

These apps probably aren’t for novice users, as some of these programs may not run well without their startup components, but geeks will appreciate the convenience.

Check out some of the other programs on Mike Lin’s site while you’re there. Mike is apparently an evil genius, and has concocted quite a few small, light apps that address some of Windows’ niggling little annoyances.



  1. Mike Lin’s got some great stuff – I’m a regular user of Startup Control Panel. However, there is one shortcoming you’ll want to know about.

    If you’ve modified the properties of your startup item (to start minimized or maximized, in a different start directory, etc), or if your startup is a shortcut with parameters (i.e., “C:\Programs\Desktop Arch\datray.exe” -S), once you disable the startup item, re-enabling it will LOSE the property settings. Most of the time, this isn’t a problem. Occasionally, however, your startup item won’t function as it did before. I’ve taken to simply moving the shortcut from my STARTUP folder to a different one.

  2. Ah, yes. If only all annoying tray apps would begin their day in the startup folder. If only it were that simple…

  3. How do you get rid of ( Start-Up Control Panel 2.8 ) it does not appear in the add/remove. I can not find it in any program list where is it hiding? I want to get rid of it. I am not the only one having this problem. Thanks PC magazine for advising me to use this nuisance. Have a nice day. =-)

  4. You are trying to remove Start-up Control Panel 2.8? It may be an executable on the desktop, which you can just delete. If it was installed with Add Programs, it can be removed the same way. Not sure why you want to remove it, it’s one of the handiest tools I’ve ever run across.

  5. Yes – Mike Lin provide a two good freeware applications for startup – “Startup Control Panel” and “StartupMonitor”. But a lot of required startup functions are not implemented in them. The are available in other commercial startup managers – for example – our Absolute StartUp manager – the main advantage of original startup manager – Absolute Startup comes with a user-supported startup programs database of over 7000+ applications known to insert their components in registry, startup folders, and win.ini file. – using this information Absolute Startup can automatically delete harmful programs from startup and tweak it in the best way!

    But – no words more – check it personally ;-) URL :

  6. I have done everything to remove Mike Lin’s Startup Control Panel 2.8 from my computer other than getting a new computer and can’t remove this program from my Control Panel. It’s the only program I’ve seen in 10 years (or ever) that attaches itself to make itself a part of the actual Microsoft Windows Program-it’s icon showing up among Windows other icons in the Control Panel. It never showed up in Add Remove and after removing it with regedit (it had it’s own key called mlin), it came back twice. Now that I’ve removed it in regedit, it’s icon is still showing and fully functional in the control panel. By this time, it’s more than just the point of it. I want to own my computer and control it. I have no idea why this program is set up to not be removed from my computer. Does anyone know any steps to permanently get it out of my computer? I would be very appreciative and thankful! Thanks in advance. Marla

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