How to Control (and Disable) Startup Applications in Windows

Daniel Bean
Assistant Editor
Yahoo Tech

If performance on your Windows computer has recently begun feeling sluggish, one great place to investigate the problem is in the Startup section of your system’s Task Manager. This tab will show which applications are automatically opening in the background each time you fire up your computer, sucking RAM and precious resources without your even realizing it.

Unfortunately, many Windows programs are installed with the auto-startup option enabled, meaning that plenty of stuff that you probably don’t need running in the background is cramping your style and slowing you down.

Here’s how to manage your startup applications:

On a Windows 8 machine, all you need to do is type start up from the Start screen. You’ll see a search result to the right that reads See which processes start up automatically…. Click this, and you’ll be taken to the desktop mode with a Task Manager window open to the Startup tab.

Here’s where you can view and modify your list of startup applications. Notice the name of each application on the left-side column, and on the right, you’ll see its status, which will be either Disabled or Enabled, as well as the startup impact, which rates the degree of impact the application’s startup has on your system resources.

To disable an enabled program, highlight it and then click the Disable button on the bottom right of the window. That’s all there is to it. Next time you boot up, the disabled applications will not load in the background.

In the example above, keeping Google Drive and Google Music’s Music Manager enabled and running from boot is a good idea. These applications provide sync features that monitor particular folders for changes. Adobe Reader and uTorrent, though, really have no reason to be open in the background, so they’ve been disabled.

The same process on a Windows 7 computer is just a little different. Click the Start button from the desktop, and then type MSCONFIG into the Search/Runbox and press Enter.

In the Task Manager window that pops up, navigate to the Startup tab and uncheck the boxes next to the programs you’d like to deactivate. Click OK and you’re done.

Depending on the number of programs you disable, and their pull on your system, you should now notice a speed difference when booting up.

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