How to Remove Startup Programs in Windows

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.

...
Msconfig won't work to manage startup programs on Windows 8.
credit: Image courtesy of Microsoft

Windows 8

Step

Press "Ctrl-Shift-Esc" or right-click the taskbar and choose "Task Manager."

...
Open the Task Manager.
credit: Image courtesy of Microsoft
...
Switch to the full Task Manager.
credit: Image courtesy of Microsoft

Step

Click "More Details" to open the full Task Manager, if you haven't used it before.

...
View and sort startup programs.
credit: Image courtesy of Microsoft

Step

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.

...
Disable a program.
credit: Image courtesy of Microsoft

Step

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.

Windows 7

Step

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.

...
Run Msconfig.
credit: Image courtesy of Microsoft
...
Select programs to disable.
credit: Image courtesy of Microsoft

Step

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."

...
Reboot or wait until later.
credit: Image courtesy of Microsoft

Step

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.