Stop Discord from Automatically Running When Windows Starts


I use Discord as part of the weekly YouTube Minecraft stream I participate in, Adults Only Minecraft (which is actually family friendly), run by my friend Marc.

Of late though, Discord has been misbehaving. Even though I have it set not to auto load when Windows launches, it ignores the setting and still runs.

While I like Discord, I only use it once a week or so, and don’t want it running in the background all the time.

In this bonus post, let’s see how to fix this problem.

Check Your Discord Settings

First, let me state that not everyone is experiencing this issue, or needs the solution I’ll outline here. Let’s start with the simple solution first.

Open Discord, then your settings. Scroll down to Windows Settings, as you see below.

The toggle, pointed at by the arrow, indicates whether Discord should launch with Windows. If yours is on, and you don’t want it to auto launch, just click on it to turn it off as seen in this image.

Exit Discord, reboot, and if Discord does NOT launch, you’re done!

In my case however, that did not correct the issue. If that was the case for you too, proceed to the next section.

Disabling Discord Autorun in Windows

In the past, people have written instructions to go into Task Manager, expand into the detailed display, go to the Startup tab, and disable Discord.

Over time though, Discord changed things so their application no longer appears here. To fix, we’ll need to go download another tool called Autoruns.

Go to, this will redirect you to a Microsoft web page (Microsoft bought SysInternals quite a few years back).

Once there, click the Downloads link on the left. SysInternals is a rich suite of tools, and you can certainly download all of them, but the only one you need for this task is Autoruns. Simply scroll down until you see it appear.

Click on the link to take you to the Autoruns info page, the download link is at the very top. Click on it to download the file to a folder on your hard drive.

Unzip the contents and it will expand several files. No installation is needed, these will simply run from wherever you put them. If you are on a 64 bit operating system, and pretty much anyone with a modern computer is, the file to double click on is Autoruns64.exe. If you are on an older 32 bit computer, you can run Autoruns.exe.

A little side note, after running the application the listing area uses an incredibly small 4 point font. Easy to fix, in the menu click Options, Font, and pick a bigger font size. For this image I went with a 12 point font.

At the top is a filter box, pointed at by the green arrow in the image below.

Enter the word Discord into it. Autoruns should then filter the list to just the entry for Discord.

Now simply uncheck the box, pointed at by the orange arrow in the image above.

That’s it!

OK, you are done. Close Autoruns, and reboot your computer. When you do, Discord should no longer start up automatically.

Discord Updates

Note, it is always possible after an update from Discord, they will reset this to turn it back on. If you suddenly find Discord starting up again when Windows boots, then just follow the instructions again to disable Discord in the Autoruns app.

It’s also possible at some point in the future Discord may correct this issue. Occasionally, perhaps once a month, check this back on then reboot to see if Discord still launches or not.


Don’t get me wrong, I like Discord a lot, and use it weekly. It’s a great tool for gaming. However, when I’m not playing Minecraft I don’t want it running in the background all the time, taking up resources.

If that’s the case for you then hopefully this post will aid you in correcting the issue.


Converting (Remapping) Caps Lock to CTRL

ThinkpadKeyboardI’ve always been a fan of the Lenovo Thinkpad keyboards. The have a good feel, and I especially love the Trackpoint. The Trackpoint is that little red nub between G and H, and acts as a mouse. With it I can do many mouse activities without removing my hands from the keyboard. With most it is a love / hate thing, either they love it or the are mentally deficient and hate it.

I actually have two, one is the USB version which I have plugged into my KVM (Keyboard Video Monitor) switch. The other is a Bluetooth model I use with my Surface Pro 3 when I’m away from home. They are quiet, easy to hold in your lap, and take up very little desk space.

The only complaint I have is with the CTRL key, something we all hit many times a day. Its position makes it difficult to reach with my huge hands. Fortunately there is an easy fix: remapping the seldom used Caps Lock key to turn it into another CTRL key.

While there are many ways and apps to do this, by far the one I trust the most comes from Microsoft in the form of its SysInternals utility Ctrl2Cap v2.0. It’s dirt simple, just follow the instructions and after the next reboot your Caps Lock will function as a CTRL key.

While my Thinkpad keyboards were the reason I needed to do this, Ctrl2Cap will work with any keyboard. If you could use an extra CTRL key, give the utility a try.

Note, it doesn’t swap CTRL and Caps Lock, it just converts Caps Lock to CTRL. All of your existing CTRL keys will continue to work normally. Thus, if you do this, you’ll lose the ability to do Caps Lock. (Don’t say I didn’t warn you.) Not a big deal for me, I rarely “unleash the fury” as they say, needing to type in all caps. It’s not permanent either, if you want to reverse it, Ctrl2Cap has an easy to use uninstall option.

Hope this tip helps, if nothing else this post will help me in the future when I need to setup a new PC.

Arcane Searches

One of the things I really like about WordPress is that you can see the search engine terms that lead people to your site. In the lists I see some search terms that occur frequently. I thought it might be fun to take a guess at what the googlers were looking for, and take a stab at answering them.

exit full screen remote desktop

Move your mouse to the top, center of the display. A little yellow bar will scroll down, with the machine name. On the left is a push pin you can use to make it stick. On the right is the traditional Min / Max buttons you see on a window.

virtual pc exit full screen

Alt + Enter will exit full screen, but it has to be the Alt key on the right side of the keyboard. (This assumes you haven’t changed you hot key mappings).

command to close virtual pc

There’s several ways to close a virtual pc. The simplest, and best is to do a shutdown of what ever OS you are running. When the guest OS shuts down, the Virtual PC exits.

You can also select Action, Close on the menu, VPC will prompt you to see if you want to close and save state (sort of like Hibernate on a laptop) or exit and discard changes. If you are running a Windows OS, VPC will also give you the option to shut down. You can get the same prompt by clicking the X (cancel) button on the window your guest OS is running in.


This is one that shows up a lot in my searches. Event toaster is part of the Visual Studio Enhancements Add-In from Microsoft. See my entry on November 15th ( or ) for more info.

virtual computer usb

Virtual PC does not support USB in either version 2004 or Server 2005. And, despite being the most asked for item in Virtual PC 2007, Microsoft still does not have any plans to include it in the next version.

VMWare, on the other hand does support USB. In the VMWare Server product, USB is not entered by default. You can add it, however by Editing the Virtual Machine Settings. In the dialog under Hardware click Add, and pick USB.

zone alarm remote desktop client

Another one that appears frequently, I’m guessing there’s a need to know how to get remote desktop to cooperate with Zone Alarm. Open the Zone Alarm settings panel, and click on Firewall. By default the Internet Zone Security is set to High. Drop this to Medium to get it to work with remote desktop. You will also need to go into Program Control and put checks for Remote Desktop Connection for all four columns.

defrag a single file

Use the SysInternals Contig tool. See for more info.

There’s a few of the top searches from my history, hopefully I’ve answered questions for a few of you out there!

SysInternals – The New Process Monitor

Just when I thought I was done talking about the SysInternals tools, Microsoft finally integrates them into their TechNet site and makes some changes. I’ve already mentioned a few in my last post, in this one I wanted to take a quick look at the new ProcMon.

Available at, the new Process Monitor (ProcMon) replaces two older tools, FileMon and RegMon. It will keep an eye on all disk activity, whether it be on the drive or the registry. In the example below you can see what’s going on in my system as I write this. For example, I have WinAmp playing a recent DotNetRocks episode.

[Picture of Process Montiors main UI.]

One feature I rather like is the Process Tree, under the Tools menu.

[Process Monitors Process Tree]

Here you can see some of the many programs I have running. All I have to do is click on one of them then click the Go To Event button and it will take me right to the event. Three buttons on the main toolbar make it very easy to filter down to the events you want to see.

[Handy tools in the ProcMon Toolbar.]

The leftmost button turns registry events on or off. The middle button shows or hides file system activity. The right most button toggles the display of process / thread activity. Other filters allow you to narrow down to specific files or events you want to monitor.

I like the new version of this tool, lots of new features that make me prefer this to the older FileMon/RegMon tools, which are still available if you want to do your own comparisons.

SysInternals – Update – Microsoft Merger Complete

Since I began my posts on SysInternals, I’ve found they have now gone completely Microsoft. The SysInternals URL now redirects you to a Microsoft TechNet page, All of the tools seem to be there, with a few minor changes.

The Process Monitor (ProcMon) tool has been renamed to Process Explorer. Other than that, it still seems to have the same capabilities, and they’ve made sure it works on Vista and the 64 bit Windows platforms.

Update: Seems I got confused over tool names, Process Explorer was always Process Explorer and not ProcMon. That’s what I get for writing blog posts at 2 am. Except for getting names confused, all the other details I point out are still accurate, good tools well worth the look.  Oh, and ProcExp does work on the Vista (32 and 64 bit versions).

There’s a new tool called Process Monitor that replaces the older FileMon and RegMon tools (although both of them are still available). The new ProcMon seems to give much the same info in a unified user interface. I admit it is nice to have all the info in one screen.

Take a look over the tools and feel free to post comments below on how you feel about the new features and the Microsoft revamp of the tools.

SysInternals – ZoomIt

The last tool I am going to present in this series (although certainly not the last tool available from SysInternals) is called ZoomIt. Zoom it allows you to zoom in on certain areas of the screen with one quick hit of a hotkey. The hotkeys are configurable, as you can see in the options dialog below.

[Picture of ZoomIt Option Dialog]

Once you activate the zoom, you can use the up and down arrows to change the level of magnification. The ESC key will exit the zoom functionality. You can also use the Draw feature to Draw on the screen, great if you are doing a net meeting or demonstration and want to highlight something.

Primarily this utility comes in handy during demos and meetings, but I’ve also found it useful when working on images for my app and need to look at a detail or two. Also handy for documentation, I have used the Draw feature to draw on the screen, then used Print Screen to snag the image and send to someone, as in the example below.

[Demonstration of ZoomIt's Draw feature.]

So give it a try, drop me a comment and let me know what creative uses you come up with for this handy tool!

SysInternals – ProcExp

If there was one of these tools that would make you drool, then this would be it. ProcExp is a process explorer that gives you all sorts of details about the jobs running on your system. After running it the first time, right click on the column bars and pick “Select Columns”, then add a few more useful columns. The most useful of these would be Path, which shows the disk location the exe or dll launched from. Version is also useful, you may find more that have meaning for you.[Picture of ProcMon basic view.]

Next, select View, Show Lower Pane. Then select View, Lower Pane View, and pick DLLs. OK, now here’s something really cool, especially for you .Net developers. See the image above, there are two processes that are highlighted in yellow. The yellow (and these colors are customizeable) indicates this is a .Net application. You can see I have two .Net apps, RSSBandit and PaintDotNet. Click on one of the yellow bars (in this case I picked PaintDotNet). You’ll see the lower pane populate, as in the picture below.

[Pic of ProcMon with it's lower panel showing some useful information.]

What you are seeing is a long list of all the DLLs loaded by your app. Way cool huh? You can see all the dependencies needed by your (or someone elses) program. Cool, but there’s more! Double click on the app line (again, the yellow line with PaintDotNet).

[Pic of dialog showing more information about the application you clicked on.]

You can see a new dialog with detailed info about the program. You can kill off the program, or bring it to the foreground. There’s lots of tabs you can click on, I’ll highlight a couple of the most useful ones. Click on the Performance Graph tab.

[Picture: Try not to drool as you look at this useful graph.]

This produces graphs similar to the ones Task Manager gives you, only this is targeted at just this particular app. Great tool for monitoring your program, looking at memory usage, CPU usage, etc. The Performance tab gives you similar information, only in a textual view.

Now go click on the .Net tab. You can see a list of the AppDomains. Click on the drop down (shown below) and you can see a list of the various performance counters you can view.

[Picture: Your like a kid at Christmas as you look over all the stats you can dig out of your .Net app.]

Lots of great info in this area, below I’ve pasted the Memory stats, just to give you an idea.

[Picture: Shows you just how much memory your app really needs.]

There’s more info to be found here than I can describe in this brief blog post. Take some time, dive in and look around. This tool can really assist you in determining the impact your application will have on the target system.

SysInternals – Two Monitor Programs

Nov. 9th Update:Microsoft has completed the merger of SysInternals into it’s internal TechNet area. Along with that they’ve renamed the old Process Monitor to Process Explorer. They have a new Process Monitor tool that combines the functionality of the two tools I mention below. Both tools below are still available, but you should also take a look at the new Process Monitor to see if it will better suit your needs.

How many times have you watched your hard drive light flicker and wondered “What the heck is banging my hard disk?” Well FileMon will help you figure this out. FileMon simply displays all the applications that are accessing your drives.

[Picture of FileMon.]

As you can see in the sample above, you can monitor all the items that are reading and writing to your disks. You can use filters in case there’s a particular program or programs you are interested in. The filters are nice in that you can use either includes (I only want to see…) or excludes (I want to see everything but…). Additionally you can save the output to a log so you can analyze it later.

Along the same lines is RegMon. RegMon is a Registry Monitor that will give you info on what is accessing your registry. Like FileMon there are filters and logging capability.

[Picture of RegMon.]

Two great monitoring tools to help you with debugging, and like all the SysInternals tools, free for the taking.

SysInternals – BgInfo

I work in a lot of Virtual PCs and remotely controlled pc’s via Remote Desktop. It’s gets confusing at times determining which PC I’m working in, especially when I step away for more coffee/hot tea or am interrupted.

BgInfo has really helped with this issue. It takes your current desktop (in my example I just have a plain black background) and overlays current system info, as is seen on my desktop below.

[Picture of my desktop with BgInfo's information on it.]

You can pick and choose the details you want to display, and reorder them in any order you want, using the interface.

[Picture of BgInfo's configuration screen.]

You can also configure BgInfo to run at every startup, or launch it at your convienience. In my normal day to day setup I selected half a dozen of the most useful items to display, but for my example above I left everything in.

Again, a very useful tool if you are in and out of virtual or remotely controlled machines every day.

SysInternals – Contig

Along the same lines as PageDefrag is Contig. Contig is a command line utility that will allow you to defrag a single file or group of files, instead of having to defragment your entire disk. Here’s the command line help:

Contig v1.53 - Makes files contiguous
Copyright (C) 1998-2006 Mark Russinovich Sysinternals -

Contig is a utility that relies on NT's built-in defragging support to make a specified file contiguous on disk. Use it to optimize execution of your frequently used files.
contig [-v] [-a] [-s] [-q] [existing file]
or contig [-v] -n [new file] [new file length]
-v: Verbose
-a: Analyze fragmentation
-q: Quiet mode
-s: Recurse subdirectories

Usage is pretty simple, just type in Contig followed by the file (or file spec, such as *.mdb) you wish to defragment. This can be useful if you have some larger database files or other files to process that are running slowly. Use contig prior to running your large jobs and you’ll see a nice speed boost.

Also useful if you just want to see if your file is fragmented, just add the –a switch prior to the file name and it will tell you how many pieces your file is fragmented into.

Note, with all these tools you use at your own risk. Always make sure to backup important files prior to running any of these tools on them.

SysInternals – PageDefragmentor

Next up is another startup tool, PageDefrag. As we all know, Windows relies heavily on it’s PageFile.Sys to manage memory. When your pagefile gets fragmented, performance can really take a hit.

Page Defrag will let you tell windows to defrag your system files the next time you boot, or everytime you boot. As you can see below my pagefile is not fragmented, but you might be surprised by yours. Give it a try, you might be startled at the performance boost you get.

[Picture of PageDefrags user interface.]


Scott Hanselman ( recently got with Carl Franklin ( on Dot Net Rocks Episode 35 ( for an hour long presentation on the great tools from SysInternals (

SysInternals is a collection of freeware tools that allows you to extract some really great info from the Windows OS, or adds some nifty extra utilities. If you don’t have an hour to invest right now, or are bandwidth impaired, I thought it’d be useful to spend a few blog posts talking about these tools.

One great feature of all the SysInternals tools is that none of them require installation. They can all be run without leaving footprints on the host system. I keep them on my USB thumb drive, so I can quickly and easily diagnose issues on users PCs.

A quick note, the parent company of SysInternals is WinTernals. WinTernals was recently purchased by Microsoft (shows you how cool the tools were). Soon many of the WinTernals / SysInternals tools will have Microsoft labels on them. Microsoft has pledged that SysInternals tools will continue to be free. Check the SysInternals blog for updates on the tools as time goes by.

To start things off, we’ll talk about a tool that helps you with your computer’s start up. Autoruns lets you examine everything that your computer launches. You can look at everything at once, or handy tabs let you look at it by category.

[Picture of AutoRuns user interface.]

Clicking on an item will populate the window with info about that item:

[Picture of the information area of the window.]

Want to learn more about an item? Right click on it, and select Google from the menu. Autoruns will launch a Google search in your browser of choice on the program in question, letting you learn more about it, to determine if you actually need this piece of software to load in your system.

If you decide you don’t want it, simply uncheck the box. Next time you boot that particular software won’t load. Discover you need it? No problem, simply launch Autoruns again and check it on, reboot and all is well. Autoruns preserves all of the settings you had on the auto launch so it can easily be restored.

If you happen to have the SysInternals Process Explorer tool (I’ll blog about this shortly) you can actually see how much memory, etc. the particular item is taking up.

I like this tool, it’s simple, and focuses on one thing, controlling what starts automatically on your pc. Easy to use, and it’s free!