Helping people with computers... one answer at a time.
Programs do seem to come and go at times. Particularly when diagnosing performance or security issues, understanding what's coming and going can be important. And sometimes it can just explain a flashing item in the task bar.
Fortunately there is a fairly simple way to trace what's happening.
Windows XP includes several auditing options which can provide a list of activities you can view in the event viewer.
Process tracking can slow your machine down, so you'll not want to have it on all the time, but it's a useful tool to turn on for a while to see what's happening.
To turn on process auditing:
Now, run whatever scenario you're concerned about. If it's a startup issue, go ahead and reboot.
Now fire up the Event Viewer (Start, Run and "eventvwr" will do it.) Click on the Security item, and the right hand pane will contain a list of events, most recent first. Double click on one and the details, including the name of the executable, will be displayed. Use the arrow buttons to move through the list.
Be sure to turn process tracking off when you're done, by unchecking the Success checkbox for Audit these attempts that you checked earlier.
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