Remove InterMute SpySubtract

When I boot my new HP computer I get a message nagging me to use InterMute SpySubtract and purchase SpySubtract, SpamSubtract and PopSubtract. I already use Spybot S&D for spyware and don’t want this app. I keep clicking a don’t remind me option on the message, but it keeps coming back. Is there something I can uninstall to get rid of this message?

Sometime during 2004, HP started shipping a bunch of machines bundled with a limited free version of Intermute SpySubtract and a discount offer for the full version of SpySubtract, SpamSubtract and PopSubtract. I’ve never used any of these apps so I can’t speak to their ability to protect your system, although there are plenty of great no cost solutions like Spybot and Microsoft’s AntiSpyware product. There are tons of no-fee pop-up blockers and I have yet to find the perfect spam blocker (please, no links to the latest challenge/response annoyance; the idea that I have to send a message to someone so they get the message I sent them is pointless. There are people employed by junk mail senders to respond to these. Over time, they don’t work.) This nagware seems to ship with the HP Pavilion and Compaq Presario branded PCs from Hewlett-Packard, although it was not included on my Pavilion dv1000, so I’m not certain if HP is still bundling the software on new computers shipping in either line. I believe it only ships with Windows XP Home Edition installs. Unfortunately, there isn’t any easy way to remove the software from your system short of doing a clean install of Windows XP. With some minor tweaks, you can turn off the nag screen so you truly never get reminded about purchase in the future.

I have seen this InterMute annoyance in action and I think HP has done a disservice to their customers in bundling a nag screen into the operating system with no quick method for removal. Windows is configured to automatically bother you with the screen each time you reboot until you purchase the products in a desperate measure to get rid of the nag. As part of the boot process, something called IMSTART.exe is launched, which is the screen attempting to sell you the InterMute products. Instead of succumbing to strong-arm tactics, change the Windows startup options instead.

Launch a Run line by click Start > Run or Windows Key+R on the keyboard. Type msconfig on the Run line and tap the Enter key.

Click on the Startup tab in the MSCONFIG utility. Uncheck the box next to IMSTART and click OK. You will be asked to reboot the system.

Following reboot Windows will display a box telling you that startup options have changed. Check the box in this window and click OK. Unless you re-activate the IMSTART app sometime in the future, you’ll never see the InterMute nag screen again.