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No! You DON'T need to run at startup!

Adobe Acrobat thinks I only use my computer for viewing pdfs. Apple thinks my computer is used solely for syncing my ipod. Install Shield thinks it is necessary to run in the background so that it can check for urgent updates to god knows what. Ooohh.. and don't even get me started on quicktime, and realmedia.

All of these people think they need to leave a process running in memory on my system.. 24.. 7.. 365.

Um... guys.. if all of you do that... what is left for ME to use?

Spyware is generally the reason most people start having trouble with their computers after a couple years and either buy a new one, or tap their social network for the nearest geek at hand to help them reformat. The thing is, this kind of crap is equally responsible. After 2 years, you've done so many things with your computer, and installed so many programs, about 30% of which leave some worthless hunk of code running in memory so their program will start faster, or update on its own, or whatever.

The computer is a tool. It's probably the most extensible and versatile tool in human history. You can do any number of things with a computer, but not if it's busy downloading garbage on your behalf, or checking for updates, or scanning for aliens, or grabbing the latest maps of azeroth.

So, software people.. (adobe, i'm looking in your direction*) Quit it! You're creating software at the program level for a reason! So we can run your program, and when we want to do something else, we can close your program! Otherwise we'd call your shit 'drivers' or an "operating system"

Ways to take control:

download process explorer This app used to be offered by a site called sysinternals, which recently got acquired by microsoft. : (
process explorer gives you a list of all running processes on your system similar to the windows task manager, but wayyyy more descriptive. So, for instance, instead of just seeing the exe name, it will give you its full path and supporting files.. so you can see who's it is. (and kill it.)

click start: run: type 'msconfig' This is a kickass built in app that allows you to see and disable all the crap you don't need at startup. You should use a bit of caution of course, as you could remove something you need, or kill your system's normal startup process. Experiment though.. that's what safe mode is for. ; )

*acrotray.exe.. what it does, I don't know. I'm pretty sure I don't need it though. When i uncheck this little fucker in msconfig, and start acrobat reader... it adds another new entry to my startup profile putting it back. grrrrrr.... Them's spyware behaviors!!

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Here's what I've been using at work:

http://www.foxitsoftware.com/pdf/rd_intro.php

It is a small, free, PDF reader. I don't understand why Acrobat Reader thinks it should update itself. Is it so important???