You may want to d/l this program to have a look at all the stuff running in the background Process Explorer
Ever wondered which program has a particular file or directory open? Now you can find out. Process Explorer shows you information about which handles and DLLs processes have opened or loaded.
Another thing, as Jacee said, is to find out what is running at startup. In the run box, type msconfig
, go to the startup tab and see what all is loading. Chances are things like Quicktime, Adobe Reader and several other unneeded programs are loading. Unchecking these will speed up the system, however be cautious not to disable anything needed. If in doubt, Google it or ask in this forum.
In general, you do not need, for example, Adobe to load at every start up. If you need to utilize that software, double clicking on a Adobe file will still launch it. The only difference is, it won't be consistently running in the background, draining system resources.