How to Disable Startup Programs on Windows 10

Having a lot of programs starting up when you boot your computer slows down the process. Here’s how to improve the performance time when you start up.

Windows 10 is a fast and responsive operating system, but if you have a lot of apps set to start while starting up your computer, it can bog down the boot process substantially. Unfortunately, many apps you install will add themselves to your boot process for various reasons, auto-update being one of the main ones. Regardless, let’s review how to disable startup programs/apps on Windows 10 and make the boot process fast again.

Editors Note: Not yet running Windows 10? We’ve covered this info previously for Windows 8.1 and Windows 7. Feel free to refer to those articles if needed.

How to Disable Startup Programs in Windows 10

Step 1 Right-click on an empty area on the Taskbar and select Task Manager.

Open Task Manager Windows 10

Step 2 When Task Manager comes up, click the Startup tab and look through the list of programs that are enabled to run during startup. Then to stop them from running, right-click the program and select Disable.

Task Manager

Notice in this version, you have other options to help you get a better idea of what each app does before disabling it.

After a time, we end up installing so many programs that we forget what they’re for. But it allows you to open an app’s file location, properties, or if that doesn’t help, you can search for it online.

Another cool thing in Windows 10 is the Startup impact column where you can see how much or little a program is affecting the startup time.

startup impact

What I always do after setting up a new computer (and installing all of my favorite freeware using Ninite,) is disable all but the few programs I want to access quickly. Another thing to remember is that when you install new software, go to its options and set it not to run during startup. Or just check this from time to time and disable software – especially those that have a high startup impact rating.

I often get the question: “Which programs have to be enabled?” and the answer is simple: none! They can all be disabled, and Windows will start up with no problems. However, some things you might want at the ready, won’t be, and you’ll need to start them up manually.



  1. Valery  

    So what is everyone doing for antivirus on Windows 10? This tip reminds me that I don’t have antivirus running on my windows tenant stone

  2. Valery  

    Typo… I meant windows 10 install

  3. Paul Hogan  

    Windows 10 comes with Windows Defender, and I also use Malwarebytes. I find this combination works very well. I have used these on window 7 and 8, and never had a problem with them.

  4. @Valery — Just like Paul said, Windows Defender comes built-in. It’s all I use and have never had an issue.

  5. Ziggy  

    I haven’t migrated to Win 10 yet, but has anyone used Ccleaner and, if so, can it disable/delete start-up items as in Win 7 and Win 8.1?

  6. BernieC  

    Thank you your infor re start up menu it was very clear and easy to follow. However there are so many things in start-up I don’t know what is required and what is not is there an article about this?

    • very helpful if you can read no problems thnx.

    • chris  

      When I right click there is no option to “Disable”. ???

  7. Very helpful. I just got my first 8.1 machines and went ahead and installed 10 while I was at it. I appreciate learning where the Startup menu is. Now I’m wondering how to disable Microsoft Office. It is not opening in startup but when I try to install 365 I keep running into a halt that says I have to remove Office 2013 first . When I try to remove Office 2013 I get a message that says there are folders open in it and there are not. Very frustrating!

  8. Great post, you have explained it very well. Thanks

  9. chris  

    MY Windows 10 does not have “Disaable” to choose from.

    • Zeekeman  

      At the bottom of the task manager click more details.

    • Jan De Bee  

      I am running Windows 10 with Classic Task Manager. How can I disable a program or process at startup? I want to disable “Windows Shell Experience Host.exe” as it is eating up memory and causes my computer to freeze up after several minutes. Also it often steals focus from whatever window I am on, even while entering data!
      Please tell me how to get to the complete Startup programs list so I can disable this program. I am the Administrator of this, my home computer. It is a Lenovo ThinkPad laptop.

  10. Kallie  

    I tried this but the “Disable” button is not active. therfore when select disable; nothing happens.

    • dee  

      Yes, frustrating…….. some of these trouble shooting blog folks have little knowledge other than the obvious, and they EXPOUND the obvious, even though our question states that the “DISABLE” button doesn’t work.
      The “disable” button is ‘GREYED OUT” and not functional ! !

      I have searched high and low on the net and everyone states the OLD OBVIOUS…..”right click to enable or disable”……..
      Good Luck….try posting with a picture of you….there seems to be a pattern there.

    • Lisa  

      Check that you are in an ‘administrator’ user account – the ‘Disable’ button seems to be inactive in ‘standard’ accounts.

  11. miffed  

    I have disambled a vpn in windows startup section as you described and it still loads in, where is the config.sys or autoexec files. Win 10 is crap, i only just got my start menu button back lol, and you know the cool options you get from right clicking the start button, none of those work either

  12. jay  

    thanks for the answer

  13. holdum333  

    Hi there! Hears a new freeware from MBAM That will help the startup problem and help you decide which ones to disable.

  14. Van  

    This doesn’t even touch 99 percent of the programs launched on Startup…. How do I disable the bloat-ware that isn’t on the ‘startup’ list?

  15. Many thanks for this useful post!

  16. holdum333  

    Hey Van! Have a look here at another blog by Brian. In this blog Brian mentions the PC decrapifier !
    I have personally used that software and it works well. There are other good tips in this blog.
    Give it a look and let me know what you think. I follow Brian every where! Brian knows his stuff!!

  17. Chellie  

    Great article and tips – I updated and really did not check much –until now. I use Comodo firewall and antivirus. I did notice that the update kept the majority of my privacy setting and they did not sneak anything in.

  18. Sweshwar  

    In case i disable the “Realtek audio manager” in the startup program list, Will it disable my audio system?

  19. Tia  

    Thank you! :) Helped a lot

  20. Susan  

    Repairing the Program stopped Word from opening when booting computer: Control Panel, Programs and Features, Right click on Microsoft Office, Change, Quick Repair.

  21. Ccleaner will let u disable/delete/uninstall some apps that you couldn’t do regularly with just windows 10.

  22. Vanessa  

    This article was very easy to understand and very helpful. Thanks for posting.

  23. Mark  

    Hello, the program that has auto startup isnt on the list, is there any other way to disable it?

    • You can look to see if a Service is starting on Windows 10. Tap the Windows Key + R. Type in Servies.msc. From there you can check to see if it’s a service that’s auto-starting.

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