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How to Disable Startup Programs in Windows 10

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.

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26 Responses to How to Disable Startup Programs in Windows 10

  1. Valery March 23, 2015 at 7:47 am #

    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 March 23, 2015 at 7:48 am #

    Typo… I meant windows 10 install

  3. Paul Hogan March 23, 2015 at 4:58 pm #

    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. Brian Burgess March 23, 2015 at 5:20 pm #

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

  5. Ziggy March 23, 2015 at 9:44 pm #

    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 September 2, 2015 at 2:04 am #

    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?

    • john drake November 7, 2015 at 4:12 pm #

      very helpful if you can read no problems thnx.

    • chris December 31, 2015 at 11:27 am #

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

  7. Dennis McCartney November 10, 2015 at 5:05 am #

    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. Rahul December 2, 2015 at 12:36 am #

    Great post, you have explained it very well. Thanks

  9. chris December 26, 2015 at 8:34 pm #

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

    • Zeekeman December 30, 2015 at 5:41 pm #

      At the bottom of the task manager click more details.

  10. Kallie March 5, 2016 at 9:01 am #

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

    • dee May 31, 2016 at 7:48 am #

      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 August 24, 2016 at 3:45 am #

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

  11. miffed April 30, 2016 at 12:45 pm #

    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 May 14, 2016 at 9:07 pm #

    thanks for the answer

  13. holdum333 July 12, 2016 at 10:08 am #

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

  14. Van August 16, 2016 at 8:17 pm #

    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. Dave Cardillo September 7, 2016 at 10:57 am #

    Many thanks for this useful post!

  16. holdum333 September 10, 2016 at 7:36 pm #

    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 September 16, 2016 at 5:55 pm #

    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 June 8, 2017 at 10:22 pm #

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

  19. Tia June 21, 2017 at 2:38 am #

    Thank you! 🙂 Helped a lot

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