7 Ways to Clean Up Windows Startup Programs

One of the most frustrating experiences when using Windows is that it runs like a tortoise during the startup. 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. This guide shows how to clean up your Windows Startup programs so that it can run fast on startup.

Tip: check out this list of programs that you should remove from your startup list.

1. Spring-Cleaning the Startup Folder

Windows apps often automatically start during system boot-up, and some even add themselves to the Startup folder. It's recommended to check this folder for any unwanted apps.

To disable these apps that start automatically with Windows, remove their shortcuts from the Startup folder:

  1. Open the "Start menu," type "Run" in the search bar, then select the top result to launch the app.
Open Run
  1. In the "Run" app, type the command shell:startup and press "OK."
Type The Command
  1. Select the apps you want to disable and press Delete on your keyboard.
Delete Startup Apps

This tweak deletes the shortcut but not the program itself. Restart the system and see how the PC responds.

2. Halt Them Using Task Manager

If you want to control which programs run when your computer starts up, use the Task Manager by following these steps:

  1. Right-click on the "Start menu," then select "Task Manager" in the opening window.
Open Task Manager
  1. Click on the "Startup" tab. This tab shows the impact of each program from low to high level, as well as the latest BIOS time in the upper-right corner. It also provides information on how long it takes for the system to boot up. Identify the app that is slowing down your startup and click "Disable."
Startup Tab
  1. Repeat the last step for any other apps that are causing performance issues during startup.

Once you have completed these steps, the selected programs will no longer launch automatically when you start your computer.

It’s best to disable one at a time to avoid system problems and restart it each time you disable one. If you’re unsure of the program or service’s function during the startup, select “Search online.”

3. Using the Windows Settings

You can also manage your startup apps in Windows 11 by accessing the startup manager through the Settings app. Follow these steps to disable startup apps in Windows 11 using the Settings app:

  1. Right-click on the "Start menu" and open "Settings."
Pic 17
  1. Click on the "Apps" option in the sidebar, then select "Startup" in the panel on the right to view all the apps that run at startup.
Pic 17 Startup Settings
  1. To disable an app, toggle the switch next to it. You can also check the "Status impact" to see how each app affects your system's performance when disabled.
Startup Apps

By following these steps, you can stop unwanted apps from launching in Windows at startup, and this can help speed up your device's boot time.

4. Modify Registry

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.

Note: you may want to back up your registry before you proceed.

If you want to disable programs at Startup from the Registry Editor, follow the instructions below:

  1. Press the Win + R button to launch "Run," then type regedit in the opening tab field and click "OK."
Pic 6 Run
  1. Navigate to the path below:
  1. 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 on the program, select "Delete," and it will automatically stop on Startup in this specific account that you’re using.
Registory Editor
  1. If you have several accounts in your system, go to the following path and apply the same process when deleting the programs.
HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Microsoft \Windows\CurrentVersion\Run
Registry Editor

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 of the services slow down the startup.

5. Modify Services

Another way to halt the programs and services on startup is to run the “Services Computer Management Console” snap-in. It provides all the descriptions 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, follow the steps below:

  1. Go to the "Start menu," type "services," and select it.
Open The Services App
  1. Click on the "Startup Type" to see the services running “Automatic” and “Manual.”
Startup Type
  1. If you want to stop the program or service during the Startup, right-click on it, select "Properties," then change it to "Automatic (Delayed Start)." This will increase the startup time, as the service will not launch quickly.
Automatic Startup Type

6. Using the System Configuration

If your computer is still slow after disabling startup programs, you may need to disable some startup services that run in the background. To do this, follow these steps:

  1. Open the "Run" prompt by pressing Windows + R.
  2. Type msconfig and hit "OK."
Open Run 2
  1. In the "System Configuration" window, click on "Services." Check the "Hide all Microsoft services" box to avoid accidentally disabling a critical service.
System Configuration
  1. Look for unfamiliar or unnecessary services and uncheck the box next to them to disable them. Finally, click "Apply" and "OK."
  2. Restart your PC to apply the changes.

7. Activate Fast Startup

Another way to increase the startup time is to activate the Fast Startup mode. Follow the steps below to enable Fast Startup on your computer:

  1. Click on the "Start menu," type “panel” in the search bar, and open the "Control Panel."
Control Panel
  1. Click on "Hardware and Sound."
Open Hardware And Sound
  1. Under "Power Options," tap "Choose what the power button does."
Power Options
  1. Click "Change settings that are currently unavailable."
Change Settings Currently Unavailable
  1. Under the "Shutdown settings" section, check "Turn on fast startup."
Turn On Fast Startup
  1. Click "Save changes" to apply the changes. Wait for the changes to take effect, and your device should start up faster during the boot process.

Frequently Asked Questions

Is it safe to disable all Startup programs on Windows 11?

It is not recommended to disable all startup programs, as some of them are necessary for the proper functioning of your system. You should only disable the programs that you don't need or that are causing performance issues.

What should I do if disabling Startup apps doesn't speed up my Windows 11 computer?

If disabling startup apps doesn't improve performance, you can try disabling startup services or tweaking other system settings. You may also want to consider performing a system cleanup or upgrading your hardware.

Farhad Pashaei

As a technophile, Farhad has spent the last decade getting hands-on experience with a variety of electronic devices, including smartphones, laptops, accessories, wearables, printers, and so on. When he isn’t writing, you can bet he’s devouring information on products making their market foray, demonstrating his unquenchable thirst for technology.

Subscribe to our newsletter!

Our latest tutorials delivered straight to your inbox