Thank you for your question.
I strongly suspect you meant to type "Ctrl-Alt-Delete" as the key
sequence which brings up the Task Manager in Windows 98. That being
the case, it is not unusual to have 8 or more programs shown as
running there depending on what software you have added to your
Some of these are critical to your computer running! For example, you
should see explorer.exe, which is your Windows 98 shell running. You
should also see systray.exe (but NOT systray .exe - note the space!),
which is the group of small icons on the bottom task bar on your
screen and just left of the clock. These are normal.
If you have a firewall installed, then that program will most likely
show in the Task Manager list. Instant Messenger programs also may
load at start-up and show in the Task Manager list.
But since you did not mention exactly which programs you show on your
computer, the key to determining what is running and what is required
and what may be safely eliminated from running can be found here:
Copyright © Paul Collins, 2001 - 2003
As he notes:
"The intention of these pages is to provide a central resource for PC
users and Tech Support staff alike who are concerned about the poor
performance of their PCs due to the number of programs that run at
system start-up. The following information is provided:
Background to the problem
Techniques that can be used to identify and disable start-up programs from running
A comprehensive list of programs that are loaded at start-up
A request for additional programs or updated information
DISCLAIMER: It is assumed that users are familiar with the operating
system they are using and comfortable with making the suggested
changes. I will not be held responsible if changes you make cause a
Do read this page. Scroll down just a bit and you will find
instructions for using the built-in "System Configuration Utility"
(msconfig.exe) in Windows 98 to disable any program you have
determined to be non-essential at start-up. In most cases, these
programs can still be run, but will just not automatically load at
start-up and will save your valuable resources until they are needed.
For example, Roxio makes a very popular program for burning CD's and
DVD's called EZCD Creator. If left to its own devices, it might load
several programs at start-up which may make it easier to run the
programs in this suite, but are not required to be loaded at start-up.
You can safely tell the System Configuration Utility not to load these
at start-up, and you can later change that if you change your mind.
You will find the instructions for this easy to understand at the
above mentioned page.
Now, the complete list of Start-up Items cataloged at this site is
HUGE and has 4,132 entries!! You might choose to browse through and
learn a bit, but most importantly, you can search for the items that
are shown in your Task Manager and most concern you at the moment:
If you are unfortunate at the moment, you might find that you have
Spyware, a Virus or a Trojan installed on your computer and one or
more of the listed programs have been installed without your
knowledge. If that turns out to be the case, I would recommend you
download the free versions of Ad-Aware and SpyBot and run those to
remove most SpyWare. Should you have a Virus or Trojan, you can run a
virus check online for free at Trend Micro as well. If there is a
severe problem, you might post a follow up question for more help, but
most likely this will not be the case and the programs loading for you
will either be required, desired or just a small nuisance.
Housecall - Trend Micro
Now, back to Paul's excellent start-up list. You will note the key to his entries:
"Y" - Normally leave to run at start-up
"N" - Not required - typically infrequently used tasks that can be
started manually if necessary
"U" - User's choice - depends whether a user deems it necessary
"X" - Definitely not required - typically viruses, spyware, adware and
"?" - Unknown
For example, I mentioned EZCD Creator above and one listing for this shows:
Name or Status Command Description
Startup Item or Data
CreateCD N Createcd.exe Adaptec Easy CD Creator system tray
application (pre version 5). Available via Start -> Programs
CreateCD50 N Createcd50.exe Adaptec Easy CD Creator version 5 system
tray application. Available via Start -> Programs
(sorry for the formatting, but you should get the idea) These are
clearly NOT necessary at Startup. You will be able to search for
almost any program you show as running in your Task Manager.
For another list on Start-up Programs, you might wish to visit the
Greatis Startup Application Database:
DJDenham Resource Management
There are also a number of other excellent links at Paul Collins page
you might wish to investigate.
Startup Programs and personal knowledge
I trust my research has provided you with links to the tools to
understand what is running at start-up on your computer and how to
decide what can be disabled. If a link above should fail to work or
anything require further explanation or research, please do post a
Request for Clarification prior to rating the answer and closing the
question and I will be pleased to assist further.