Programs ranging from auto-updaters to cloud syncing utilities run automatically every time you turn on your PC, and many of them remain running in the background all day. Although designed for convenience, auto-starting programs also make your computer take longer to boot and can fill your taskbar tray with icons. Rather than waste time quitting unwanted programs every time you reboot, stop applications from loading using the Task Manager in Windows 8 or Msconfig in Windows 7.
Press "Ctrl-Shift-Esc" or right-click the taskbar and choose "Task Manager."
Click "More Details" to open the full Task Manager, if you haven't used it before.
Switch to the "Startup" tab to see a list of programs that start with Windows. Click any of the column headings to sort the list, such as to see which programs slow down boot time the most.
Select a program and press "Disable" to stop it from running on startup. You can also right-click a program to search for information about it online or to see the program's location on your hard drive.
Press "Windows-R" and run "msconfig" to open the System Configuration utility. Depending on your security settings, you might need to press "Continue" on a User Account Control warning message.
Open the "Startup" tab and uncheck any programs that you want to prevent running automatically. The Command column shows the location of a program to help you identify its purpose. You might need to expand the column to read its contents: double-click the vertical line between "Command" and "Location."
Click "OK" and choose whether you want to reboot immediately. If you choose "Exit Without Restart," your choices take effect the next time you reboot or turn your computer off and on.
Tips & Warnings
- The startup program lists do not include system services, which you can find on the Services tab in Msconfig on both Windows 7 and 8. Some applications run automatically using services instead of startup items, but the Services list also includes vital Windows components, so disable a service only if you know what you're doing.
- Select "Normal Startup" on the General tab of Msconfig to re-enable all disabled startup programs and services.
- Most programs still work when opened manually after you prevent them from running at startup, though they might take longer to load. If a program stops working, however, undo the change.