One of the most frustrating frailties in Windows is the tendency for applications and other items to start up automatically, whether you need them to or not. Software programs such as Adobe Reader, Google Drive, iTunes, and Spotify set themselves up to load as soon as you log into Windows.
Why is that a problem? Such startup apps chew up memory and resources unnecessarily, potentially hampering your PC’s performance. The more programs that launch at startup, the greater your PC is impacted. Except for certain programs such as antivirus software, most applications don’t need to muscle their way into your startup routine.
But don’t fret. You can fight back. Windows has long offered a way for you to view and disable your startup programs. The feature has been tweaked slightly in Windows 10 and 8.1 so that it’s now a part of Task Manager. You can scour the list of startup programs, research each specific program on the web to learn what it does, and then disable any apps you feel don’t need to launch at startup. If you have to run a program that gets kicked out of your startup process, you can simply launch it manually from its Start menu or Start screen shortcut.
Let’s see how the process works, and how you can nix certain startup apps.
1Fire Up Your Task ManagerFirst, right-click on any empty area of the Taskbar in Windows 10. From the pop-up menu, click on the command for Task Manager. In the Task Manager window, click on the tab for Startup. You’ll see a list of all the applications that start up automatically each time Windows loads. Some of the programs you may recognize; others may be unfamiliar. The challenge here is to hunt down the ones that don’t need to launch at startup while not disturbing the ones that do need to start up automatically.
2Check Apps for Startup ImpactFirst, scroll down the list. Notice that the heading for the fourth column says “Startup impact.” This is Windows’ way of advising you which applications may need to start up at launch time and which ones can stay put. You’ll find five different modes: High, Medium, Low, None, and Not measured. (Not measured is a temporary status assigned to a newly installed application that hasn’t yet been measured.) A program ranked High likely does need to appear at startup, while a program measured as Low or None likely does not. So keep these rankings in mind as you determine which applications to disable from startup.
3Identify a Potential CulpritIf you’re unsure about a certain application, right-click on a particular startup program and click on the command to “Search online.”
4Let Bing Do Its Due DiligenceWindows runs a Microsoft Bing search in your web browser for that particular program. Look through the search results and you should find information on whether or not the program should be barred from startup. Run a similar search for each application, especially the ones where you’re unsure whether or not to disable them from startup. The ultimate goal is to use the “Startup Impact” status combined with the information you find via the web searches.
5Disable Startup AppsWhen you decide you want to kick an application out of the startup sequence, right-click on its entry and click on the command for “Disable.” Your safest bet is to disable one application at a time, restart your PC, and then make sure you and Windows can live and function without the program running at startup. If you bump into any problems with a program you’ve disabled, you can always return to Task Manager, right-click on its entry, and then click on “Enable.”