My first hand experience tells me that Windows Task Manager is not the most efficient way to find out the integrity of currently running processes or applications that auto execute during Windows logon. Although it allows you to kill unresponsive applications or disable them entirely from running, you can never be so sure whether a process or service is malicious, or harmless to your system. This is where tools like Autorun Angel really shine. This nifty little app scans your computer for autorun entries against its own cloud database, and highlights only those services or autorun programs that seem dangerous to your system or may be the root cause of an ongoing problem. This can include all sorts of malware including spyware, adware, trojans, viruses et al. According to the developer, the scan engine is powered by NictaTech Antivirus Engine, which is the company’s native cloud engine for checking for viruses.
Autoun Angel comprises a straightforward interface. All you have to do is download and install the application on your system, and once executed, it automatically starts analyzing your autorun entries. After analyzing the system – which doesn’t take much time at all and completes within a couple of seconds – Autorun Angel presents a list of items along with pertaining information such as file path, status and source. You can also mark ‘Hide SAFE file’ at the top right to exclude core system services and known safe entries from the list.
The scan process doesn’t begin until you manually click the scan button. Once you run the scan, the application starts comparing each item against its online antivirus database using the cloud engine that I mentioned earlier. So before you begin the scanning, make use your PC is connected to an active internet connection. Safe or harmless entries automatically disappear from the list, while remaining files – that begin to turn bold – are probably the known bad or malicious files that you’re actually looking for. The scan process may last several minutes, depending on the total number of items in the list.
After the scan is complete, you can choose to send the highlighted items to the service for additional analysis by clicking the ‘Send unknown for analysis’ button. However, the application doesn’t offer a way to disable or remove these entries straight from the program, and adding these options could have come in handy.
All in all, it’s a rather limited application that doesn’t boost many features, but still offers a great way to quickly check your autorun entries for malicious threats. It works on Windows XP, Windows Vista, Windows 7 and Windows 8.