How to Disable Startup Programs in Windows 10 (Full Tutorial)

If you are wanting to do a little spring cleaning on your computer, or you noticed a program was using a lot of resources, here is the easiest way on how to disable startup programs in Windows 10.

Having some programs run on startup doesn’t just affect your computer’s startup speed, but it can also slow down the general operating speed by using up extra memory and precious CPU power.

So going ahead with cleaning up your startup programs will go a lot further than most people think in terms of increasing your system’s performance.

There are a few ways you can achieve this, I will start by introducing the easiest method first.

Thereafter, we will go through the slightly more difficult process by going through certain key values in your Registry Editor.

How to disable startup programs in Windows 10

1. Open Task Manager

windows task manager

Open the task manager by right-clicking on the Start Menu Button and left-clicking on ‘Task Manager’.

If you are still not sure how to do this, please read my other article on how to open it.

Expand the interface by left-clicking on ‘More details’. This will reveal all the areas you need to navigate through in order to work with the entire feature set of the Task Manager.

This is helpful even for other features besides the disabling of startup programs.

2. Click on the startup tab

click on startup tab

By clicking on the startup tab in the Task Manager, you will have access to most of your startup programs.

You will see a column for the name of the program and some other important columns.

One of them is the ‘Status’ column. The value for each item under the Status column allows you to see if the program is enabled or disabled on startup.

Then the other important column is the ‘Startup impact’ column. This lets you know if the program is a heavy resource hog, or if it hardly makes much difference to your computer if it’s running.

With that, look at the High startup impact items first. They will be the most urgent ones to look at seeing that they will use the most resources and cause your computer to start up more slowly.

3. Right-click on the program to disable on startup

right click to disable program on startup

By right-clicking on the program you wish to disable, you will be able to select ‘Disable’ from the contextual menu that pops up.

If you want to enable the program again, repeat this process, and select ‘Enable’ in the contextual menu instead.

The other option is to uninstall the program entirely. If you click on the properties option in the menu then the ‘Details’ tab in the properties window,, you will be able to see more about the specific program.

With these details, you can soon see which program you need to uninstall. If you need to know how to uninstall programs, you can read our other article on how to uninstall programs.

How to remove programs on startup with the Registry Editor

Before attempting anything with your registry, I highly recommend that you create a restore point. This will allow you to roll back to a previous Windows state, in the event that anything goes wrong.

I show you how you can create a restore point in detail, in my other article.

1. Open the registry

Open the Registry Editor by left-clicking on the Start Menu Button and typing ‘registry editor’. Then you can left-click on ‘Registry Editor’ in the Start Menu’s search results.

If you still aren’t sure how to open the Registry Editor, please read my other post on using the Registry Editor. It will have directions with images on how to open it.

2. Navigate to the appropriate run keys

There are a few places where registry values hang out to start certain applications when Windows starts up.

Let’s go through each one of the run keys to look for each value to these programs you don’t want and delete them.

If you only see ‘Computer’ listed in the left-hand column for the keys, left-click on the small arrow on the left of ‘Computer’ to drop open the main tree of keys.

This goes for the rest of the keys referred to in the list of keys we need to access. Make sure each key that we mention has the small arrow facing downwards, and not pointing toward the key.

open registry key tree
Key 1: HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE –> SOFTWARE –> Microsoft –> CurrentVersion –> Run
delete startup registry program value

Once you have opened each of these keys by left-clicking on them, make sure you have clicked on ‘Run’. It should be highlighted if you have selected it correctly.

In the right-hand pane, right-click on the value you want to be deleted and left-click on delete in the contextual menu.

Key 2: HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE –> SOFTWARE –> Microsoft –> CurrentVersion –> RunOnce

This is the following key under the ‘Run’ key.

Perform the same procedure as explained with the last key in order to remove anything unwanted on startup.

Key 3: HKEY_CURRENT_USER –> Software –> Microsoft –> Windows –> CurrentVersion –> Run

Do the same thing to delete any unwanted startup values for programs.

Key 4: HKEY_CURRENT_USER –> Software –> Microsoft –> Windows –> CurrentVersion –> RunOnce

Again, this is the key following the last Run key. Proceed to delete any unwanted startup programs by removing the corresponding value.

Once you have these key’s values cleaned up, you have successfully disabled any unwanted programs from starting up.

I found on many occasions that items aren’t all present in the Task Manager’s startup settings. So going through and removing the registry values is the only way to be thorough.

Conclusion

Between these two methods, you will have everything you don’t want running on startup completely disabled.

There are two other entities that could still run, but they aren’t programs. One of them would be tasks and other services.

Once your startup items are cleaned up, you will enjoy a computer that will run more efficiently and that has extra memory freed up.

Well done for taking the time to improve your computer’s startup time and efficiency.