The Windows 11 Startup page open. Header.

To disable startup programs in Windows, press Ctrl+Shift+Esc to open the Task Manager, switch to the "Startup," tab, select an app, and then click "Disable." Alternatively, open the Settings app, navigate to Apps > Startup, then click the toggle next to an app.

The more software you install on your computer, the longer it may seem to take to start up Windows. Many programs add themselves to the list of programs started when you boot your computer, and that list can get long. Here’s how you can disable startup programs in Windows.

How to Disable Startup Programs on Windows 11

There are two convenient ways to stop an application from running on startup on Windows 11: the Task Manager and the Startup Apps page of the Settings app.

Press Ctrl+Shift+Esc to open the Task Manager, then switch to the Startup tab.

Open the Task Manager and select the "Startup Apps" tab.

Select the program you want to disable from the list, then click “Disable” in the bottom right corner. You can also right-click a program on the list to remove it.

You can also use the Settings app to remove programs from the startup list. To launch the Settings app, search “Settings” in the Start Menu or press Windows+i. Navigate to Apps > Startup, then click the toggle next to the app to disable it.

How to Disable Startup Programs on Windows 10 (Settings)

If you’re running a modern version of Windows 10, there’s a Startup Apps management panel that makes it super easy to disable startup programs. Just open up the Settings app, and then search for “Startup”, and open up the Startup Apps panel. If you don’t see this, you don’t have the very latest version yet, and you’ll want to use Task Manager to manage your startup apps (keep reading this next section).

Once you do have the Startup Apps panel, you can simply toggle the stuff you don’t want to run at startup.

How to Disable Startup Programs in Windows 10 (Task Manager)

Windows 10, like Windows 8 and Windows 8.1 before it, makes it really simple to disable startup applications. All you have to do is open up Task Manager by right-clicking on the taskbar or by pressing Ctrl+Shift+Esc. Click “More Details,” switch to the Startup tab, select an application, then click the Disable button.

It’s really that simple. If you aren’t seeing these options, make sure to click “More Details,” which is in the same place as the “Fewer details” that you see on this screenshot.

How to Disable Startup Programs in Windows 7, Vista, or XP

It’s smart to have some programs start with Windows, such as anti-virus and firewall software. However, for most programs, starting them at boot-up just wastes resources and extends startup time. There is a tool installed with Windows, called MSConfig, that allows you to quickly and easily see what’s running at startup and disable the programs you prefer to run on our own after startup as needed. This tool is available and can be used to disable startup programs in Windows 7, Vista, and XP.

Warning: MSConfig can be used to configure several things other than just startup programs, so be careful what you do with it. If you’re not sure about using it, just follow the steps in this article and you should be fine.

To run MSConfig, open the Start menu and type “msconfig.exe” (without the quotes) in the Search box. As you type, results display. When you see “msconfig.exe,” click on it or press Enter, if it is highlighted.

Note: If you are using Windows XP, open the Run dialog box from the Start menu, type “msconfig.exe” in the Open edit box, and click OK.

Click the Startup tab on the System Configuration main window. A list of all the startup programs displays with a check box next to each one. To prevent a program from starting up with Windows, select the check box next to the desired program so there is NO check mark in the box. Click OK once you have made your choices.

A dialog box displays, telling you that you may need to restart your computer for the changes to take effect. Click “Restart” to restart your computer immediately. If are not ready to restart your computer, click “Exit without restart.”

Select "Restart" or "Exit Without Restart."

Note that some applications need to be configured to stop launching themselves when the computer boots or they will just add themselves to the list of startup programs again. In this case, there is usually a setting in a program’s options to prevent it from starting with Windows.

Profile Photo for Lori Kaufman Lori Kaufman
Lori Kaufman is a technology expert with 25 years of experience. She's been a senior technical writer, worked as a programmer, and has even run her own multi-location business.
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