For any malicious program (e.g. spyware), it is crucial to make sure it gets started as often as possible to be able to perform its dirty deeds, preferably immediately when the computer itself is started. In all but a very few cases, this is done by using one of the many possibilities for program auto starting provided by the operating system, either adding a direct entry for the program itself, or by infecting a program that does already have such an entry.
This is exactly what the autostart guard is designed to detect. It monitors all known ways of auto-starting a program directly from Windows, and it also immediately detects a modification (e.g. infection) of any file that is currently using any of these ways to start itself upon starting the computer.
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