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How to Manage Startup Applications in Windows 8

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Many applications include a component that starts when you boot your computer, slows boot time, and continues to run in the background using system resources. Windows Vista and 7 included tools for managing startup applications, but they were located in obscure places (Defender and Msconfig).

Windows 8 now includes an interface for managing startup applications in a location that makes more sense: the new, improved Task Manager. This makes it easier to specify which startup applications can start with Windows and use your system resources.

NOTE: Managing startup applications only applies to desktop applications. Modern UI (Metro) Windows 8 apps are not allowed to start automatically when Windows starts.

There are several ways of accessing the Task Manager in Windows 8. One method is to right-click on the Taskbar and select Task Manager from the popup window.

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You could also move your mouse to the extreme, lower left corner of the screen until the Start screen button displays. Then, left click to access the Power User menu, or press the Windows key + X. Select Task Manager from the popup menu.

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The Task Manager can also be accessed by searching for it on the Start screen. If you’re on the desktop, press the Windows key, or click on the Start screen button in the lower left corner, as mentioned above. Start typing “task” (without the quotes). The Search box automatically displays with your search term entered.

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Two results display on the left side of the screen. Click on Task Manager to run it.

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Initially, the Task Manager automatically opens in compact mode, only listing what programs are running. To access the additional features of Task Manager, click the down arrow button next to More details.

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Click the Startup tab. This tab displays all programs that start with Windows. To prevent a program from starting when Windows starts, right-click on the program and select Disable from the popup menu.

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You can also select the program and click the Disable button at the bottom of the dialog box.

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To close the Task Manager, select Exit from the File menu, or click the Close (X) button in the upper, right corner of the dialog box.

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Reboot your computer for the changes to take effect.

NOTE: When choosing which startup programs to disable, be sure you research online the programs you don’t understand. Some startup programs may be necessary for the correct operation of either the operating system or programs you use.

Lori Kaufman is a freelance technical writer who likes to write geeky how-to articles to help make people's lives easier through the use of technology. She loves watching and reading mysteries and is an avid Doctor Who fan.

  • Published 05/9/13

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