How to Change Startup Programs in Windows

Make your computer run faster so you can get to work - or play

mom and girl using computer
Changing startup programs on Windows 10, 8, and 7 takes no time at all.

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When your computer boots up, it starts a number of programs before it’s ready to use, like iTunes Helper, Adobe Reader, Skype, Google Chrome, and Microsoft Office. Many of them may be useful, but the more programs your computer runs during this process, the longer it takes to start; too many programs running could also slow down your computer’s overall performance, including other programs you’re trying to use.

Fortunately, you have control over which Windows startup programs you allow to run. Keep in mind you can always start a program manually if you need it.

Use the following steps to change the startup programs that run when you power up on Windows 10, 8, and 7.

How to Change Startup Programs in Windows 10

To change the Windows 10 startup programs, you’ll use Task Manager.

Note: This process will work for Windows 8 startup adjustment as well.

windows task manager
Be sure you can see the section titled Background Processes.
  1. Move your mouse pointer to the taskbar at the bottom of your screen and right-click.
  2. From the menu, select Task Manager.
  3. Scroll down until you see the Background processes section.
    1. Note: If you don’t see it, select More details in the bottom left corner of Task Manager.
  4. At the top of the application, select the Startup tab.
  5. Select the Status column to sort the applications into Disabled and Enabled.
    1. Note: Disabled means the program doesn’t run when you start your computer; Enabled means it does.
  6. Examine the list to see if there are any enabled applications you don’t need running all the time. If you’re unsure, leave them running.
  7. To disable any application, right-click anywhere in its row and select Disable.
  8.  When finished, select the X in the upper right corner to exit Task Manager.
  9. Finally, reboot your computer to allow the changes to take effect.
windows task manager startup tab
Review the enabled programs to see if there are any you don't need.

Next time you start your computer, see if you notice an improvement in startup time and overall performance.

How to Change Windows 7 Startup Programs

To change the Windows 7 startup programs, you’ll use MSConfig.

  1. Open the Start menu. In the search box, type msconfig.exe.
  2. Select msconfig.exe.
  3. In the System Configuration window, select the Startup tab.
  4. You should see a list of every program that runs when the computer starts. Review the list and determine if there are any applications you don’t need running all the time.
  5. For those you identify, ensure the checkbox next to the program name is unchecked. If in doubt, leave the program enabled.
  6. When finished, select OK.
  7. A dialog box prompting you to restart will appear. Select Restart.

See if you notice an improvement in startup time and overall performance!