How to Add Programs to Startup in Windows 11

Launch your favorite apps every time you boot up

What to Know

  • Launch Windows Start and select the Settings app.
  • Open the Apps section and then tap Startup.
  • Toggle apps you want to launch when Windows 11 boots.

Windows 11 lets you control startup programs by adding a dedicated interface to the settings menu. Originally added to Windows 10, this feature makes adding and removing startup programs far easier for most people. Here's how to add programs to startup in Windows 11.

How to Add Programs to Startup in Windows 11

You can add or remove startup programs using a menu built into the Windows 11 settings menu. Here's how to access it.

  1. Open the Windows Start menu.

    Windows 11 desktop with the Start menu highlighted.
  2. Select the Settings app.

    Windows 11 Start menu with Settings highlighted.
  3. Find and select Apps from the menu on the left side of the Settings app.

    Apps highlighted from Windows 11 settings app.
  4. Tap Startup.

    Windows 11 settings app with Startup option highlighted.
  5. You will see a list of apps with toggles. Flip a toggle on to add a program to startup or off to remove a program from startup.

    Windows 11 Startup programs menu with on/off toggle highlighted next to apps.

The Startup menu will automatically list or remove apps when you install or uninstall them.

It also provides an estimate of how much a program might increase the startup process. This estimate ranges from No impact to High impact. Don't read too much into this estimate, however. In our experience, even older Windows 11 PCs can handle over a half dozen High impact startup programs without significantly slowing Windows 11's performance.

How Do I Remove My Startup Programs in Windows 11?

You can remove programs using the same steps listed above. Flip a toggle to the off position on the list of Startup apps to stop it from starting when Windows boots.

What Programs Must Run at Startup?

None of the programs listed in Startup must run when Windows boots. You can still use the operating system with every program toggled to off. However, some programs are more important than others.

Programs that automatically sync data with the cloud, such as OneDrive, iCloud, Slack, or Microsoft Teams, should generally be left on. Leaving them on means you won't have to wait for files to download and won't miss out on notifications.

It's safer to turn off programs that don't sync data or only sync data you infrequently access. Examples could include software that manages a wireless keyboard or a background process that manages cloud sync for an image editor.

What If a Program Isn't Listed in Startup?

The Startup list is useful, but it may not list every app that is installed. Windows 11 (as well as older versions of Windows) sometimes fail to detect all installed software. This happens most frequently with programs released prior to Windows 8.

Odds are you can still add or remove the program from startup, but you'll need to use an older method that digs deeper into Windows' settings. Our guide to how to add programs to startup in Windows 10 provides detailed instructions.

  • How do I add programs to startup in Windows 10?

    Use the Windows key+R keyboard combination to open the Run dialog box. Enter shell:startup to open the Windows 10 startup folder. Right-click in the folder > select New > Shortcut > Browse > New > Finish to add a new startup program. Repeat as desired to launch other apps when you start your computer.

  • How do I add or remove programs from startup in Windows 7?

    Change startup programs in Windows 7 by disabling or enabling items using the System Configuration tool. Launch the Start menu and search for and select msconfig.exe. From System Configuration, choose Startup and uncheck or check the items you want to include in the startup process. To add a new program to the startup folder, create a shortcut and place it inside the startup folder.

Was this page helpful?