In Windows, there are a zillion ways things can start. The registry can do it, there is a special group in Start Programs that does it. You have to always look carefully to make sure not to be too slow. The Mac OS X isn’t any different. Here are the places you need to look according to “Apple”:

* /Library/StartupItems is a folder that you can stuff applications in. OS X does do a security check and for you Unix bit heads, what happens is in that every application is actually a directory in OS X, so you can right click and look at what is called package contents (the convention is that applications are really have a .app extension). Also, the correct default permissions for a system level application are to be owned by _root_ in the group called _wheel_
* In the System Preferences, Account section, there is something called Login Items. These are applications that run when a user logs in. For instance, Microsoft Office stuffs a bunch of daemons in there.

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