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.

unknown program startup windows10


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.

command line startup windows10

  • 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

startup service path taskmanager

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.


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.