5 Ways to Clean Up Windows Startup Programs

One of the most frustrating experiences in our digital life is when we turn on the PC, and it runs like a tortoise during the startup while our schedule romps like a hare. Some of the programs installed in the computer, such as anti-malware, productivity and third-party apps and other system services, run automatically during the process, which can bog down our CPU and memory.

In my case, for example, Skype, Steam and this annoying third-party JDI MyPC backup software (my seller installed it as part of the package) are active culprits that slow down my startup time, so I had to turn them off manually. Here are five useful tweaks and hacks to clean up Windows startup programs and speed up startup time without spending a dime.

Note: When installing a program or software in the future, you may uncheck the “Start the program during startup” option before you click the Finish button during the installation process.

You can start cleaning the startup folder. It can be accessed directly by typing this address in the Windows Explorer bar:

C:\Users\>User Name>\AppData\Roaming\Microsoft\Windows\Start Menu\Programs\Startup

Don’t forget to change the “User Name” to your Windows login name.

Speedstartup-Windows8-startupfolder

Delete the shortcuts of the programs you wish to halt on startup. This tweak deletes the shortcut, but not the program itself. Restart the system and see how the PC responds.

Cleaning the startup folder does halt the program shortcuts you have deleted. However, it won’t disable all of them, including the hidden programs which are listed in Task Manager’s Startup tab. Activating the Task Manager – press “Ctrl + Alt + Del” – then selecting the Startup tab is useful for advanced functions, allowing you to see all the programs and services to help you decide which among them is safe to halt or disable on startup.

SpeedstartupWindows8-taskmanagertab

The Startup tab shows the impact of each program from low to high level, as well as the latest BIOS time on the right upper corner. It also provides information on how long it takes for the system to boot up. To disable a program or service, right click then select “Disable.” The program will halt on startup, but it will remain in the hard disk. Beware that you can’t halt these programs completely. It’s best to disable one at a time to avoid system problems and restart the system each time you disable one. If you’re not sure of the program or service’s function during the startup, select the “Search online.”

Once you’ve deleted the shortcuts in the Startup folder and tweaked the Task Manager’s Startup tab, you can apply another hack to halt the programs and services using the Registry Editor. Press the “Win + R” button to launch the prompt box, type “regedit” in the Open tab field and click “OK.” The system will launch the User Account Control and will ask you (assuming you’re the admin) if you want to make changes to the computer. Click “Yes” and proceed. Go to this registry:

HKEY_CURRENT_USER_\Software\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Run

SpeedstartupWindows8-registryeditor

On the right panel of the Registry Editor, you’ll see the list of programs that run on startup, while the Data field shows you the path of the program or service. Right-click the program, select Delete and it will automatically stop on startup in this specific account that you’re using. If you have several accounts in your system, go to this:

<

HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Microsoft \Windows\CurrentVersion\Run

and apply the same process when deleting the programs.

Note: Deleting a registry value may cause system instability; whenever you delete an entry, a dialog box will ask you if you want to delete the value permanently. Do your homework first and find out, which among the services slow down the startup.

Another way to halt the programs and services on startup is to run the “Services Computer Management Console” snap-in. It provides all the description of services you wish to disable and allows you to pause or test a particular service to check the computer’s performance when you halt it. To run this tweak, go to the Start screen and type ‘”services.msc“.

SpeedupWindows8-serviceslocal

The Services (Local) shows you the name of the program or service, description (its function), status, startup type and log on as. Click the Startup Type to see the services running “Automatic” and “Manual.” If you want to halt the program or service during the startup, right-click, select “Properties,” then change it to “Automatic (Delayed Start).” This will increase the startup time because the service will not launch quickly.

Last but not the least, another way to increase the startup time is to activate the Fast Startup mode. This is available in Windows 8 and works whenever you shut down the computer and turn it on. It will not work if you choose “Restart,” so make sure you shut down the entire system. To activate, press “Win + W”, then select the Power Options icon. Under the Shutdown settings, check the “Turn on fast startup (recommended)” and save the changes.

SpeedstartupWindows8-faststartup

I recommend that you read the descriptions of programs and services in Services Computer Management Console to know the functions of each service before disabling it. The spring cleaning in startup folder is just a touch base, and although it does have an effect on startup, hacking your way to registry editor and services computer management console snap-in is beneficial for advanced users and halting background services. We’ll discuss more about Services Computer Management Console in a future article. Meanwhile, let me know how it goes with you after applying these in your computer.