Restrict access to startup folder

Posted: Updated:

Q.  I know that having too many programs launching at startup can slow down my computer, but how can I prevent programs from being installed in my startup folder? It seems like they just add themselves. Help!

A.  Programs in the Startup folder not only consume precious memory (RAM), but they can, indeed, slow down your system’s performance dramatically.

I use a free utility that is sensational in its simplicity and stands as a sentry, guarding against programs that attempt to insert themselves in the Startup folder. The program is called StartupMonitor (, written by a young programmer named Mike Lin.  Mike was born in 1983. When I was his age, I was still learning to tie my shoes. Sigh.

StartupMonitor is easy to install and functions invisibly, behind the scenes. Its sole purpose is to notify you when any program attempts to register itself to run at system startup. When one is detected, a small pop-up appears, tells you what is trying to register itself, and you can then elect to permit it to be added to your system startup or reject it.

StartupMonitor is free, though donations to Mike’s “Tip Jar” jar are appreciated, so if you try it out and decide to keep it, please send a few dollars to him for his good work. 

Q.  Sometimes when I move my mouse cursor, it goes crazy, darting and dashing all over the place, much too fast to control. What can I do to reel it in and get it to slow down?

A.  That type of manic mouse behavior is easily adjusted within the Mouse Properties dialog box. These settings may vary slightly depending on your version of Windows, but click Start > Settings > Control Panel > Mouse. Look for the Pointer Options tab and a slider bar to adjust Pointer Speed or Motion. Moving it to the left will slow your cursor’s movements. Click Apply > OK to save and exit.

Be sure to review all the other mouse-related options available to you in the Mouse Dialog box while you’re there.

Q.  Is there any way to quickly close multiple windows? Sometimes my Taskbar fills up with open programs and folder icons and it seems like a waste of time to have to close each one individually. Thanks, Mr. M.

A.  When you have lots of open programs and folders, and you want to close them in one swell foop, hold down the CTRL key while you click the various Taskbar icons. When they’re all selected, right-click any one of them and choose Close Group. This works with all versions of Windows.

Mr. Modem's Sites of the Week:

Brain Maps
An interactive brain “atlas" that allows you to view high-resolution images of the brain and its functions -- or lack thereof. This is an impressive online experience, whether you’re an amateur neurosurgeon or you’re simply interested in the most powerful computer of all, the human brain. While primarily based on the brain of a monkey (or Macaca mulatta as we in the biz call it), you can also download images of the brains of Homo Sapiens, as well as non-primate species such as cats (Felixus Catus) and mice (Minimus Mousus).

Hard to Find 800 Numbers
Have you ever tried to contact a company, but the only number listed isn't free, or there is no phone number listed at all? This is a directory of 800 numbers for a variety of organizations, from to Yahoo.

For plain-English answers to your questions by email, plus useful PC tips, subscribe to Mr. Modem’s Weekly Newsletter. For information, visit