How to Disable Startup Programs in Windows 10

Programs that start up automatically at system boot can be annoying and degrade your computer’s performance. The more programs that attempt to open at startup, the longer Windows will take to finish loading and be usable. Generally, it’s not hard to disable these startup programs, but you need to know where to look.

Disable Startup Programs with Task Manager

The first method we’ll cover is using Windows’ Task Manager to disable startup programs, because this will work for the majority of software.

1. Open up the Task Manger with the Ctrl + Shift + Escape keyboard combination or by right clicking an empty area in your task bar.

Opening Task Manager from the Taskbar on Windows 10

2. If you see the “More details” option in Task Manager, click on it so you can access the Startup tab.

Expand More Details in Task Manager

3. Click on the Startup tab to see a list of programs that start automatically when Windows boots up.

Click on the Startup tab at the top of Task Manager

4. Highlight any application you wish to disable, then click the “Disable” button in the bottom right corner of the window.

Task Manager tries to measure the “startup impact” of each program listed. Applications with a higher startup impact are the ones you should consider disabling the most, but disabling anything will help.

If you have software starting up automatically and it isn’t listed here in Task Manager, we’ll show you some other places to look for it below.

Disable Automatic Startup in the Application Itself

Okay, this one seems obvious, but we’d be remiss if we didn’t mention it. Pretty much all software has an option in its own settings to disable automatic startup, unless you’re running something shady.

Poke around in the settings menu of the application(s) you wish to disable, and you should see the option somewhere.

Disable automatic startup from inside an applications setting menu

Remove Shortcuts in the Startup Folder

The Startup folder can contain shortcut files to applications that Windows opens at boot. This is an easy way for users to rig a particular application to open up when Windows loads. To disable one, all you need to do is delete the shortcut from the Startup folder.

1. Open a run prompt by pressing Windows + R on your keyboard.

Opened Run prompt on Windows 10

2. Paste the following directory into your run prompt and click on OK to open it.

C:\ProgramData\Microsoft\Windows\Start Menu\Programs\StartUp

3. Delete any shortcuts from the Startup folder that you no longer want to start up automatically with your PC.

Startup folder

Remove Startup Registry Key

Still no luck? This is kind of a last resort, but if you know what you’re doing and understand the risks of editing the registry, you could give this method a shot. Some programs store their automatic startup settings deep in the registry, where we’re about to go and get rid of them.

1. Open a run prompt with Windows + R and type “regedit” to open the Registry Editor.

2. Navigate to the following path, expanding each folder until you finally land on the “Run” folder.

Computer\HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Run

Registry Editor showing automatic startup programs

Right click on the program you wish to disable, and delete the registry key. The application shouldn’t start up automatically the next time you load into Windows.

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