How to View and Manage Startup Programs in Windows

Whenever you start or reboot your computer, several programs and files run automatically. These startup programs cause your system to take longer to boot. There are a few programs that perform a useful function and need to launch with Windows such as anti-virus and firewall applications.

However, other programs and files that are not necessary during startup consume system memory and negatively affect the performance or your system. Over time, users accumulate more applications, and each startup program adds a bit more time to the bootup process.

To resolve this issue, you can easily manage these startup programs and files with Windows’ built-in functions and 3rd party apps.


Built-in Functions:


  • Windows XP, Vista and 7:

    MSConfig is a built-in tool that allows you to view and manage startup programs. You can also disable the programs you do not need.Open the Start menu and type ‘msconfig.exe’ in the search box. Next click on the file and a system configuration window will open. This window includes various tabs. Click on the Startup tab, and it will display a list of all the startup programs with checkboxes on the side.Uncheck the box next to the programs that you want to prevent from starting up with windows. Once you finish unchecking all the programs that you want, click OK.After this, you will see a dialog box stating that your computer needs to be restarted to save all changes made. It will have two options ‘Restart’ and ‘Exit Without Restart.’ You can choose either of them.

  • Windows 8, 8.1 and 10:

    Managing startup programs is much simpler in later versions of Windows. You can do this directly from the built-in Task Manager.To open Task Manager, click the Windows button and letter “R” at the same time. A small Run window will open in the bottom left-hand corner of the screen. In this window, type “taskmgr” and then press enter.The Task Manager window will launch, and you’ll see multiple tabs. Open the “Startup” tab which will have a list of programs showing the status (Enabled or Disabled). You can change the status for whichever program you want by right-clicking the file.

Third-party Tools:
  • Sysinternals Autoruns:
    This is an excellent tool that shows you which programs are configured to run at the time of system boot up.Sysinternals Autoruns is one of the best and most comprehensive applications to manage startup programs. These programs, files, and services are displayed in the order they are processed by Windows.You can also use this software to disable unnecessary programs so that your system can run more efficiently by reducing memory consumption and CPU usage.

Download here: Sysinternals Autoruns

  • BootRacer:BootRacer is lightweight software with a simple user interface that can monitor the boot time of a computer and notifies you about any speed degradation. It also subtracts the time taken by the user to enter his password. It can give you full control over startup programs and lets you know which applications are slowing down the Windows boot up process.

Download here: BootRacer

  • Autorun Organizer:
    This software manages startup programs in Windows computers and speeds up the bootup process. You can enable or disable the automatic startup of programs and arrange the order in which programs are launched. You can suspend the running of programs and check the Autorun record for various viruses.

Download here: Autorun Organizer

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