How-To Geek

Stop the Annoying "Windows Has Blocked Some Startup Programs" Balloon

So you followed some tutorial that told you to use msconfig.exe to modify your startup items… and now you keep getting an annoying message that says “Windows has blocked some startup programs”. How irritating is that?

It’s not difficult to stop this message from ever appearing again, and here’s the easiest possible way to stop it.


Right-click on the annoying (and ugly) icon in the system tray, select “Run blocked program” and then “System Configuration Utility”


After the UAC prompt, you’ll see this dialog message. Check the box for “Don’t show this message or annoy me again when Windows starts”.


Now you shouldn’t get those messages anymore.

Lowell Heddings, better known online as the How-To Geek, spends all his free time bringing you fresh geekery on a daily basis. You can follow him on if you'd like.

  • Published 01/7/08

Comments (54)

  1. Nannari

    FYI, this will not show up only till you modify the startup programs the next time. If you add/remove any startup programs using msconfig again, it will show up again.

  2. Simon

    If you’re using Vista, you should be using *Windows Defender* to change statup programs, not msconfig; since Defender doesn’t assume you’re running as administrator (and so won’t cause this message).

  3. mike

    It’s not always MSconfig that is the culprit.Sometimes other programs are blocked at startup also. In fact any program that requires UAC/elavated privileges during the startup process will cause this. More information is available at

  4. Brandon Wilcox

    This has been a very informative and entertaining read. Hell a lot of this stuff i had no desire to learn, but it was fascinating and well written. Keep up the good work!!

  5. Connie

    this srticle was extremely helpful to me. That was soooo annoying. I also have the same balloon popping up stating low disk space because I uswed automatic backup and now have run out of backup space. How can I keep this one from showing it’s ugly face again?

  6. mike

    If you have Windows XP, try the instructions at the link

  7. Mark

    Thank God (geek)
    This has been driving me nuts!
    Once again you’ve help us wanna be geeks!

  8. William

    “Windows has blocked some startup programs” –no, I blocked them and I don’t need to be reminded.

    Leave it to Microsoft to develop another bloated piece o’junk OS like Vista…the only reason I got Vista was because Dell wasn’t offering my laptop with XP…pretty soon they won’t be offering anything with XP anymore. Microsoft is pushing me ever closer to switch to Linux for good…I’m already dual-booting.

    The developers at Microsoft should be smart enough to know/understand that someone that goes into MSCONFIG and changes things usually knows what they are doing, and therefore has no need to be reminded that they shut off some startup programs. They should also understand that the newbies and the computer illiterate wouldn’t know what to do with that message anyway. If anything it would cause panic or worry in the technologically challenged users.

    At any rate, this was helpful in solving my problem…I’m just glad I didn’t have to root around in the registry to turn it off.

  9. Simon

    >…no, I blocked them and I don’t need to be reminded.
    >The developers at Microsoft should be smart enough to know/understand that someone that goes into
    >MSCONFIG and changes things usually knows what they are doing, and therefore has no need to be
    >reminded that they shut off some startup programs.

    No, *you* should be smart enough to realise that it’s not the programs you disabled that are being blocked, it’s *msconfig itself*; since msconfig requires admin privileges. The solution is to use the appropriate tool — i.e. one that is privilege aware — to block startup programs, which in Vista is Windows Defender.

  10. Alan

    msconfig quite often start a controlling program which leaves one or multiple services running.
    Defender can only start & stop the resulting services, which is not necessarily what you want to happen.
    This is especially true for Vista Inconpatible software e.g. Printer Software Drivers.
    The solution to block the startup processes in msconfig & then hide the msconfig error message is part of the solution (until Microsoft offers a better way). The blocked processes can then be started via the Task Scheduler with Administrator Priviledges. (work around at best).

  11. John

    Even if this annoying little attribute of Vista does return…Hey, I don’t change my startup everyday. I can cope with this. Sanity returns!

  12. Anon

    Nope, doesn’t work, sorry.

    If only someone could provide a simple registry edit to sort this problem out… It is so damn annoying and no-one seems to be able to provide a proper answer.

  13. The Geek


    You most likely have some application in your startup that requires administrator privs to run. You’ll need to figure out which one it is and disable it from running at startup.

  14. james chambers

    Fantastic thanks for the help wish i knew it was that easy!!!!

  15. james chambers

    Just been reading some other comments about Vista. My laptop came with Vista basic and Norton anti virus i cant stand either i would love to have XP back.I have been surfing for the best part of 20 years and been on some pretty dodgy peer to peer sites and have never picked up a virus using the free version of AVG i enthusiatically recommend it to all my friends, they say you get nothing for free this freeware proves otherwise.My laptop runs video very slowly when running video content and when i play in large screen mode in windows media player the video runs very choppy can you suggest any tweeks i have 1 meg of RAM so the spec isnt that bad. The graphics card in an ATI Radeon 200 something.

  16. gail

    thank you!

  17. Diogene


  18. captinsmooth

    Very helpful, just the info I was looking for!

  19. greywolf

    Brief summary:

    Remove the application that causes the error from msconfig, start menu/startup and registry.

    Click start and type “task”, Task Scheduler should come up. Run this.

    Click Create Task then follow through the dialog boxes to start the program you want.

  20. greywolf

    this is not my personal site it is the site to the instructions on setting up Tasks to run at startup using task scheduler. I dont seem to be able to post with a URL in this text

  21. Rick

    I know what I want on my computer better than Microsoft does. Thats why I took them out of the startup files . I dont like Windows defender , I dont like Norton .I have had the best defence with AVG and AdAware .
    The best way to stop the baloon from poping up is to right click and
    and click EXIT ….Hope this helps some of you !!!!!

  22. mark

    I tried disable the blocked program message like you said, but when I right click on it and go to run blocked program, I don’t have system configuation utility, mine says adobe update manager so the message still pops up. What can I do to make this message stop?

  23. Bill

    Doesn’t work if running Windows Defender still pops up. Any idea for getting it to stop popping up whilst still running Windows Defender?

  24. Bob

    Windows Defender does not appear to have the ability to control startup programs, even if you have admin privileges. The only thing you can change in Defender is the schedule of its scans and what level alerts to show. Running msconfig and the Services console remain the only way (outside the Registry) to control startup programs.

  25. Andre

    Thanks for your instructions.

    It is like removing a damned annoying and painful stone in the shoe, especially when I record a presentation.


  26. Paul

    Thank you for the suggestions! However, per Bill’s and Bob’s comments immediately above mine, I also have Vista Home SP1 and I don’t get the “System Configuration Utility” option come up. All I get is the offending program name. Anyone out there know how to shut off the message in Defender, msconfig, or in a registry hack of some kind given our setup?



  27. Zyl

    Mark, I had the same problem with Windows Defender blocking Adobe Update Manager too. Solved the annoying notification problem by applying Method 2 from the Microsoft Support and Help page (i.e. disabled it).

  28. Bubbahstiky

    Well I run ASUS’ PC Probe II program which monitors fan speed temperatures voltages etc… and when it loads on bootup it then goes to the mini monitoring icons… and the main program stays minimized…

    the problem is UAC/defender say it prevented it from starting.. and I have to click run to get it to go…

    Now if I set the task scheduler and use it to manually open the program for me, it doesn’t minimize the main screen… so I then have to minimize it…. so another P.I.T.A

    Why can’t they just let you go into the screen that shows the blocked programs and as the admin user allow you to set if it should be blocked or not… all it says is it is not classified or something…
    so all I can do is disable the stupid a$$ed thing
    Programmers are such morons sometimes… why would they make it so you can’t configure it…

  29. BrOtHeRsY

    thanx and thanx and thanx


  30. Dead impressed

    james chambers has been surfing since 1988 ! !
    Wow !
    I guess he’s a real uber-geek
    Even Tim Berners-Lee hadn’t implemented http until 1989, but I guess if ! James ! Chambers ! says he was browsing almost twenty years ago then he must have been like a really really really inside track kind of an uber-guru.
    Just the kind of guy that WOULD have spend the money to upgrade a video card with like a full megabyte of memory – I guess that would have to be one of those ones with silicone transisistor device implementaions and reeal coool paintjobs and stuff
    I suppose any guy like that, any comment he makes kind of automatically counts as friendly and helpful

    I guess the tweek he’s looking for would be to replace AVG with nod32, put in 2G and a readyboost flash drive

  31. DaNi FiLTH

    Go to START.
    Click RUN.
    Type: REGEDIT
    On the right side, look for Msconfig.
    Delete it.
    Close the Registry editor

  32. Earl

    I have the opposite problem of what is described here. I don’t have a program disabled by intent. I have one that Windows Defender blocks on startup every day but I know it is innocent because I installed it and want it to start up every day. Is there any way to tell Windows Defender that it is OK and it should not block it? No. There appears to be an option to do this but it is always disabled so I can’t use it. Microsoft talks a lot about letting us use our computers the way we want to but they really don’ mean it.

  33. hape

    You could still get main window minimized and use task scheduler to avoid annoying UAC confirmation window.

    In task scheduler when you set your action, type in “1” (yes, 1 without quotation marks) as an optional argument.

    You’re welcome ;-).

  34. hape

    Main window minimized and use task scheduler to avoid annoying UAC confirmation window in Asus Pc Probe II, i meant :-).

  35. Ramon

    Excellent information. Appreciated. Please keep up the good work.


  36. Victor

    This advice looks good but I have a program, Memeo AutoBackup, that I want to run at startup…and it does but I still get the blocked program message for AutoBackup Launcher which has already run…to get the AutoBackup program to run. Windows Defender doesn’t give me the option to enable it.

  37. D

    Ok, I’ve read all this, but didn’t get the answer and have more data on this “feature/bug”.

    I’ve also been getting this error A LOT. I was under the impression that it was Windows Defender that was causing this, but after a VERY long tech support call to Norton, they SERIOUSLY admonished me to turn that off when running Norton 360. So, I did. and it kept coming back! This time the SAME error appeared in the “System Configuration Utility”. So it was only being “handled” by Defender because it was turned on. The error I’m still getting shows the blocked program is the “Registry Editor”, which gave me quite a concern (I was thinking Virus) and so was HP, the manufacturer of the computer. SO, i researched and they researched and we decided it must be W.32.Brid.A. Well after downloading the “fix” from Symantec. And NOT being able to run the damn thing since it requires Administrator privileges and I wasn’t able to right-click it to run as admin, since it was an old file. I called norton again, 3 hrs this time, all finally ending with me screaming on the phone at the guy because they were now SELLING anti-virus removal services. OMG you wouldn’t believe the rant this guy put me on about these things spreading and every minute I wait it’ll be worse till it pisses off my ISP and they shut off my service and well… then they won’t be able to fix it….. AAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAHHHHHH! Only 99.95 for a standard diagnostic…?? Isn’t that what I bought Norton 360 for?

    I’m sorry I digress…

    So, it’s still here, I followed the link to this site, and I get no such popup for a UAC, it simply runs “whatever” and goes away, till the next time I boot up..

    OH, btw…. I followed a logical train of thought and figured out how to run that program I downloaded from Symantec… I opened a cmd window (as the administrator) then ran that little SH$%. It worked fine, and guess what… after all that hype from Norton, it wasn’t even infected. So, it looks like SOMETHING I installed triggered this Registry Editor to run and since it wasn’t privilege “aware” it’s haunting me. PLEASE PLEASE help me get rid of it. I’m obsessed with it’s removal now.

  38. rae

    The solution to your microsoft vista problem is to burn it. And go get an apple mac.

  39. Grétar

    I love you man! This thing was driving me nuts.

  40. Kevin

    Thanks! I had fixed this problem once before, but couldn’t remember how.

    Great site. Thanks again.

  41. Corelogik

    Sometimes this is caused by a problem with the app. I recently went through this with MalwareBytes. The application put an entry in the registry with an extra trigger to run a cleanup script at startup. Obviously MB needs admin priv to run so it was getting blocked. Tracking down where this was coming from through Windows defender, removing the registry made it go away.

    Sometimes a little judicious research is more helpful than screaming about how F’d up MS is,…

  42. james

    thanks dude. really a great help on those annoying popups

  43. Susie

    When I hover over ‘Run Blocked Program’ it does not come up with ‘System Configuration Utility’ it comes up with ‘Malwarebytes’ Anti-Malware’. I can’t seem to disable it. Help? Please?

  44. rus

    doesn’t work for me. when i click on run this message pops up support soft container

  45. ali

    my lap top does weird things …i unstalled a program but when i enter the product key of the program my pc doesnt even react its weird…the farwall isnt a problem not even the ant-virus
    i dont understand
    pleaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaase help

  46. Lou

    Thanks so much for this, as I have my start bar hidden on the left hand side its very annoying to keep having this message pop up as it makes the start bar appear again!

  47. john

    thanks brotha! what an annoying part of the system! i’m glad thats over!

  48. Rajaram

    Thanks for the immediate reply for my search query on “How to block the (terribly) annoying Windows message re: ‘ Windows has blocked some Startup programs’. It is one of the BEST How To Geek article, bringing tremendous peace for me, while booting the Windows Vista.
    Thanks! Thanks! Thanks! Thanks! Thanks! Thanks! Thanks! Thanks! Thanks!.. .. ..
    – – Rajaram

  49. Mike

    System Configuration Utility is not an option for me to choose, and I cannot seem to find access to it at all. Ideas?

  50. William Cameron

    These did`nt work for me, however I noted that required Dword was missing from HKeyLocal Machine/software/Microsoft/Windows/CurrentVersion/Policies/System. “Enable LUA value 0” (which turns off UAC, so I created it Whilst there I noted Dword “Prompt for Secure Desktop” and changed value to 0 & this solved it! Whether this was done by update or Trojan I care not this was the remedy for me & hopefully for you

  51. James Reich

    After reading all this, and searching other sites for the answer, and going to Microsoft for their
    answer. I found the answer and it is really simple. I have Vista and I was getting this NAG every
    time the computer started up. I know I am in a Geek forum, but I am not a geek. I will not waste
    anybody’s prescious time any longer.
    1) Click on the NAG Icon. Should be on the lower right of your desktop.
    2) It opens up a gray dialog box with 4 lines.
    3) On about the second or third line it has a line like blocked programs.
    4) Point or click on it.
    5) To the left on this line the blocked program should appear. Mine was AVG Tuneup.
    6) This was the reason for the NAG. It was blocking AVG Tuneup from operating at startup.
    7) Now click on the top line of the gray dialog box for the complete list of blocked and unblocked
    startup programs.
    8) Find AVG Tuneup or what was being blocked. It should have a check next to it.
    9) Uncheck the box, APPLY.
    10) NAG gone.

    I have AVG Tuneup Icon on my Desktop so I can start it anytime.
    I hope this helps somebody. The answer was quite simple but it did take me a few hours to figure it out.

  52. Chantal August

    Insteadof me clicking on “run blocked program” , I clicked on show or remove blocked start up program and disabled everything. Now I cannot even get the internet to look up my problems. How can I restore it back to the way it was.


  53. Al

    Thanks for your help, that message was really annoying! But to what Simon said earlier in response to William

    >No, *you* should be smart enough to realise that it’s not the programs you disabled that are being blocked, it’s *msconfig itself*; since msconfig requires admin privileges. The solution is to use the appropriate tool — i.e. one that is privilege aware — to block startup programs, which in Vista is Windows Defender.<

    I have never blocked any start up programs except using windows defender, I personally do not know what msconfig is, so no idea why this message was coming up. And then windows itself offers no explination just annoying message after annoying message! Last windows PC I will ever get!
    What a load of rubbish, I am not so great with computers I just want mine to work and I am sick and tired of how crap windows pc's are! Just time after time problem messages coming up, nothing works with anything else and then to top it all of only decent help you get is from forums like these! I was a mac man myself but bought a pc due to it being much cheaper, now I know why!! I have a dell, not sure what you guys think of them but so far its just had issue after issue, I don't mess around with my computer as I specifically did'n't want things like this to happen.

  54. crazycanuck

    Hey AL i’ve been having the same problem, i’ve just been ignoring it, but it has been getting on my dam nerves. Finally i googled and it sent me here. I didn’t block any programs, but maybe AVG did. Anyhoo, i really wanted to respond to your Dell problem. I have a Dell and like you, it has been nothing but problems. I WILL NEVER BUY A DELL AGAIN!

More Articles You Might Like

Enter Your Email Here to Get Access for Free:

Go check your email!