Disable Windows Startup Programs

3 Ways to Disable Startup Programs

Programs that start automatically provide many useful functions such as checking for updates, preloading applications so they open faster, and do not require you to manually start them. These are all good tasks to have performed automatically. However, there are also programs that are installed that you will rarely use or pose an unnecessary burden on system resources.

Option 1: Taskbar
Option 2: Windows Settings
Option 3: Startup Folder

Before You Disable A Startup Program

It’s important to understand when to disable a startup program versus when not too. Disabling some programs may leave your computer vulnerable to malware and viruses due to outdated software that can be exploited through several attack paths such as your web browser or poisoned documents.

Uninstall any software you do not use instead of disabling any related startup programs. This will remove the startup item, free up storage on your computer, and is one less possible avenue of attack available.

Disable auto-start in the program’s settings. Many programs have a setting to disable auto-start while still allowing for available updates to be checked and installed. It’s less likely a program will reenable auto start after an update if autostart is disabled in the settings.

Research unknown start-up programs before disabling them. Avoid disabling startup programs that keep your programs up-to-date. An internet search will tell you the purpose of the startup program. If you are still unsure consult a professional.


Option 1: Taskbar

This is the easiest method to quickly disable start-up programs.  

  1. Hold CRTL + SHIFT + ESC to open the Task Manager.
  2. Right click the application you want to disable auto-start.
  3. Select Disable in the submenu.
Task Manager Start Tab
Task Manager Selected App


Option 2: Windows Settings

The same options are available in the windows settings but take a few more clicks to get to the startup settings.

  1. Open Windows Settings
  2. Select Apps
  3. Select Startup
  4. Toggle on or off the application you would like to adjust
Windows Settings Apps
Windows Settings Startup
Windows Settings Startup


Option 3: Startup Folder

Only a few programs use the Startup folder anymore. However, there may be a program hiding in it. You can place shortcuts in this folder to automatically start a program when you login.

  1. Hold the Windows Key + R
  2. Type the command shell:startup and press OK
  3. Delete the shortcut of the program you do not want to run when you log in.

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