It’s always a good idea to check the running applications and startup programs on every operating system. This allows you check the resource usage as well as figure out unknown/suspicious executable files running silently.
Today, when I opened up Startup Programs (formerly known as msconfig.exe) in Task Manager in Windows 10, it showed me a file called “Program” with no icon or publisher details. It was set to enabled and was allowed to start automatically upon User login. It startled me a bit because I didn’t install any new apps recently and it appeared all of a sudden. Also, Microsoft created services are usually signed and contain publisher details but this wasn’t the case.
Upon further digging I found out that it was a leftover service file by a VPN tunnel program called ‘Outline’ that I uninstalled last week. Apparently the uninstaller of said program was poorly designed.
So how do I find out which application created this suspicious “Program” in Startup?
Funny thing is, the task manager has a feature which shows you Command Line path of every startup application. It’s hidden in plain sight.
- Open Task Manager by pressing CTRL+SHIFT+ESC or by right-clicking taskbar, whichever you prefer.
- Go to Startup Tab
- Right-click the Name table title
- Now check the ‘Command Line‘ option using left-click
Once you enable the command line, it will show you a path of every startup application that your Windows 10 is running. Now you can access that directory/folder and delete the problematic .exe file. Restart the PC afterwards and it will go away in next boot, hopefully.