I allowed Adobe Media Player to auto-update yesterday, and noticed that it added itself to the list of applications that run automatically on startup (without asking, as I recall).
This is an AIR application and has a relatively large memory footprint even when inactive, according to Task Manager. It is also currently of little use as far as I can tell; Adobe no doubt plans for it to be the next iTunes, but right now there’s only a tiny selection of videos on offer, some of which report “not available in your territory” if you try to play them.
You can stop this software from impacting Windows performance by going to Options – Automatic notifications and unchecking Automatically launch on startup and Close Adobe Media Player to the taskbar.
The Windows utility msconfig is great for identifying startup applications and shows you where they can be disabled. Stripping these down to a minimum can have a marked affect on performance.