There’s a feature of Spybot Search & Destroy that I’ve only just noticed but is potentially very useful. To get it to work properly, you must first:
- Download the latest updates, in particular the ‘Startup entries’ update
- Go to Mode and enabled Advanced Mode
- Expand Tools and select System Startup
This will list all programs which run on system startup. If you’ve done a scan and removal with Spybot, then there shouldn’t be any spyware here, but there will be a panel on the right-hand side which tells you what each app does. It’s pretty comprehensive – it recognised the apps used for the hotkeys on my keyboard (which alas I need to be able to lower the brightness when on batteries) and some other obscure applications. Disabling a couple of helper apps for my graphics chip, along with Apple’s annoying QuickTime applet and Sun’s annoying Java updater, led to a saving of around 10MB of memory. Admittedly this machine has 512MB of physical memory plus a swap file so there isn’t exactly much of an improvement bar slightly a slightly shorter boot-up time, but on older machines I can imagine there’d be a noticable boost to performance.
Have a play yourself – you may well improve your system’s performance. Though I would create a restore point first as if you disable something important then your system really won’t like you.