How to Disable Startup Programs on Windows 10

Make your PC boot up faster by removing Windows 10 startup programs

Your Windows 10 computer can take longer to boot up if a lot of programs start up when you start your computer. Here's how to pare down the numbers of programs that start up right away.

After you've fine-tuned your startup programs, check out our other tips for improving your Windows 10 startup times.

What Are Startup Programs in Windows?

When you turn on your computer and Windows starts up, it automatically loads everything it needs to run. At the same time, it automatically loads any programs that are set to run on Windows startup. This allows you to automatically start any essential programs that you use every day without taking the time to launch them manually.

The main problem with Windows startup programs is it takes time to load them, so adding a lot of programs to the list can drastically increase the time it takes for Windows to finish loading.

A man disables startup programs in Windows 10.
vm / E+ / Getty 

How to Check if You Have Startup Programs Running

You probably have some startup programs running even if your computer is brand new, since some new computers come with a bunch of bloatware. If your computer is older, and you've installed a lot of programs and apps over the years, you probably have even more startup programs running in the background.

If you check the startup programs you have running in the background, and you see a lot of stuff you don't use, then you can speed up the time it takes Windows to load by changing your startup programs, or even disabling them. In some cases, you may even improve the overall performance of Windows by reducing the number of programs you have running in the background.

Here's how to check if you have any startup programs running:

  1. Open the Windows Task Manager, and click the Startup tab.

    startup tab
  2. If you see an app you want to prevent from running when Windows 10 starts, click the name of the app and then click the Disable button in the bottom right corner of the task manager.

    disable service
  3. If you notice a lot of programs you don't use, you can speed things up by stopping those programs from running at startup using the startup apps control panel.

How to Disable Startup Programs in Windows 10

In earlier versions of Windows, and outdated versions of Windows 10, startup programs were managed through the startup folder. This is a special folder which looks like a normal folder, but it works differently. When you place a shortcut in this folder, Windows knows to automatically load it whenever Windows starts up.

The Windows 10 startup folder still exists, and it still works, but it has been superseded by the startup apps panel. This panel lists all of the apps and programs which are set to launch when Windows starts and allows you to flip a simple toggle to keep them from launching automatically.

Here's how to disable startup programs in Windows 10 using the startup apps panel:

  1. Press Win+I to open Windows Settings then select the Apps category.

    apps setting
  2. Select the Startup category.

    startup category
  3. Toggle any individual apps to activate or deactivate their startup status.

  4. Restart your computer, and only the programs of your choice will load.

Can You Use the Startup Folder to Disable Startup Programs in Windows 10?

While the startup folder still exists in Windows 10, it has been superseded by the startup apps control panel. You can delete shortcuts from that folder to keep them from running, but you may notice the folder has no shortcuts, or it has far fewer shortcut than you have active startup programs.

The issue is since Windows 10 no longer relies on the startup folder to manage startup programs, most startup programs only show up in the task manager and the startup apps control panel. To manage the startup status of those programs, you can't use the startup folder.

With that in mind, it's fine to check your startup folder and remove any unwanted shortcuts. However, you'll need to use either the task manager or the startup app control panel to manage most of your startup programs in Windows 10.