Some apps are set to run on startup, making them launch as soon as Windows boots up. But if it’s the Windows Powershell popping up, then you have a problem. As it turns out, this is a known issue affecting a fair share of Windows users. Fortunately, there are ways to fix it, as detailed in this guide.
Tip: you can use Powershell to hide annoying Windows updates. We show you how.
- General Fixes
- 1. Check Whether a Task or Script Is Running in the Background
- 2. Boot in Clean Mode
- 3. Disable Windows Powershell Temporarily
- 4. Delete Powershell Shortcut from Startup Folder
- 5. Delete the Powershell Startup Status on the Task Manager
- 6. Use the Microsoft Autoruns Program
- Frequently Asked Questions
Before applying problem-specific fixes, these general tips could help you solve the problem if it was caused by a virus or a bug in the system.
- Scan PC with malware removal tool: if you have a third-party antivirus or anti-malware program, you can search the computer for any malicious software. But if you don’t, you can have Windows Defender run a full scan on your computer.
- Perform Chkdsk, DISM, and SFC scans: Windows has a few valuable utilities to check system files and ensure they are intact and that no corrupted files exist in your system folder. By typing the associated commands, you can run these utilities in the Windows Terminal or PowerShell.
- Update Windows: go to settings and check for any available updates in the Windows Update tab.
- Run the System Maintenance troubleshooter: Open the Run window by pressing Win + R, then type in
%systemroot%\system32\msdt.exe -id MaintenanceDiagnosticand hit Enter to open the System Maintenance utility.
1. Check Whether a Task or Script Is Running in the Background
Your Windows system relies on PowerShell to launch background processes or authorize applications to access security files. If Windows PowerShell keeps popping up, there is a good chance that your system is running update processes or vital background tasks. You can check whether that’s the case by following these steps:
- Right-click on the Start menu and choose “Task Manager.”
- In the “Processes” tab, click on “CPU” to reorganize the list based on the process CPU usage.
- Review the list to see which process uses the abnormal amount of CPU. If it’s an unknown process, search the name in Google to see if it’s okay to end the task.
- Alternatively, if it’s a process named “wsappx” or any service using too much CPU, it means Windows is updating an app or itself.
Note: if you notice PowerShell in Task Manager, then ending the task would not help, and you should move on to the next fixes.
2. Boot in Clean Mode
Third-party apps are notorious for creating harmful files in your system and taking advantage of Windows PowerShell to make changes in your computer. The only way to identify these apps and cut access to your PC is to boot it in Clean Mode.
- Launch the Run box by pressing the Windows + R keys simultaneously. Type in
msconfigand press Enter.
- In the “General” tab, select “Selective Startup” and uncheck “Load startup items.”
- Head to the “Services” tab and click “Hide all Microsoft services.” Select “Disable all” at the bottom of the window and click “OK.”
- Click the “Startup” tab and choose “Open Task Manager.”
- On the “Startup” tab of Task Manager, right-click each item and “Disable” it.
- Finally, click “OK” and restart your PC. If your PC boots up without issue, this means that a recently installed app was to blame, and you should uninstall it to solve the problem. If not, proceed to the next method.
Good to know: learn how to run a Java program in Command Prompt.
3. Disable Windows Powershell Temporarily
You can use the Command Prompt to disable Windows PowerShell temporarily. If you use PowerShell to disable itself, it may end up crashing and causing issues. Note that this method works on Windows 10 1803 and requires admin privileges.
- Click the Windows Search button and type “Command Prompt.” Right-click on the best result and choose “Run as administrator.”
- Type the following commands and press Enter after each one. Remember to re-enable the PowerShell later. To disable it, type:
Dism /online /Disable-Feature /FeatureName: MicrosoftWindowsPowerShellV2Root
- To re-enable it, type:
Dism /online /Enable-Feature /FeatureName: MicrosoftWindowsPowerShellV2Root
4. Delete Powershell Shortcut from Startup Folder
The Startup folder contains all the Startup application shortcuts so that Windows can run them as soon as it boots up. The Windows “PowerShell.exe” shortcut can also be found in this folder, as, most of the time, this app is set to launch on startup. Thus, if Windows PowerShell keeps popping up, you should locate and delete this app’s shortcut from the Startup folder.
- Launch the Run box by pressing the Windows + R keys. Type in
%ProgramData%\Microsoft\Windows\Start Menu\Programs\StartUpand hit Enter.
- Find and right-click on the PowerShell shortcut and choose “Delete.” If the list is empty or you can’t find PowerShell, proceed to the next method.
Tip: check out all of the options available to open Task Manager in Windows.
5. Delete the Powershell Startup Status on the Task Manager
You can also disable the PowerShell startup status via Task Manager to prevent it from launching on startup.
- Right-click on the Start menu and choose “Task Manager.”
- Click on the “Start-up” tab and find “Windows PowerShell.” Right-click on it and select “Disable.”
6. Use the Microsoft Autoruns Program
Microsoft offers a powerful tool to stop apps that are set to run automatically on your Windows.
- Download Autoruns.
- Open the app, and In the “Logon” tab, locate “PowerShell” and uncheck its box.
Tip: Is Microsoft Store not functioning as it should? We show you how to fix it.
Frequently Asked Questions
Is it OK to disable PowerShell indefinitely?
Although we don’t encourage you to do so, sometimes your only choice is to disable this console indefinitely. Windows should be fine without PowerShell since it can use Command Prompt, but PowerShell is an upgraded version of Command Prompt that can do much more than cmd.
What can PowerShell do that Command Prompt can't?
While PowerShell is built on the .NET platform, it can communicate with Windows objects even at the core level, unlike Command Prompt, which can’t.
Can I update Windows PowerShell?
Windows updates system-related apps with each Windows update, so there is no need to update PowerShell separately. Still, you can update PowerShell manually without waiting for Windows to do it for you with the next update. To get PowerShell updates from the Microsoft Store app, search Windows PowerShell in the Microsoft Store Windows application, and the first app displayed is the one you are looking for.
Image credit: Pexels. All screenshots by Farhad Pashaei.
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