How to stop programs running at startup in Windows 10

James Walker

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Windows programs can be registered to run automatically at startup. In the case of apps you register yourself, you’ll usually see them appear a few seconds after you login. However, programs you install may also register themselves as startup apps – this is particularly common for antivirus software and device hardware utilities.

It’s easy to check how many startup programs you’ve got active. You can disable any which you don’t want to load automatically, which might improve system performance after you turn on your PC.

Begin by opening Task Manager (the Ctrl+Shift+Esc keyboard shortcut is the quickest way to get there). If Task Manager opens in its simplified view, press the “More details” button at the bottom of the window to switch to the advanced screen.

Disabling startup apps using Task Manager

At the top of the Task Manager window, click the “Start-up” tab. Here, you’ll see a list of all the startup programs registered on your system. Each app with an “Enabled” status will start automatically after you login to your PC.

You can view the name and publisher of each app, as well as an estimated “Start-up impact.” This provides a plain-language estimate of the app’s performance penalty when starting your PC. You might want to consider disabling any apps with a “High” start-up impact.

Disabling startup apps using Task Manager

Disabling an app couldn’t be any simpler – just click its name in the list and then press the “Disable” button at the bottom of the Task Manager window. In the future, you can activate it again by returning to this screen, clicking its name and pressing “Enable.”

Finally, it’s worth noting you can display much more information about your start-up programs using Task Manager. Right-click the column headings at the top of the Start-up pane to see a list of more fields you can add to the window. These include the amount of CPU time the program uses at start-up (“CPU at start-up”) and how it was registered as a start-up program (“Start-up type”).