Windows - Disabling Startup Programs

This document explains how 'msconfig' can be used to disable programs that are starting with Windows and may be causing problems.

Background

When a computer is turned on, and Windows starts to load, Windows begins to load other programs as well. Some of these programs are important to the normal operation of your computer, while others provide conveniences or features, and others still may serve no purpose or may even attempt to harm the computer.

While Windows itself comes with a few of these start up programs built in, the vast majority of them come from programs installed on the computer. For example, installing iTunes on a computer will cause two additional programs to start when a computer is turned on. Normally, allowing a few of these additional programs to run is not much of a problem, but as a computer get more and more use, the number of programs starting with the computer starts to become unwieldy, and the computer's performance starts to suffer as a result.

It can, therefore, be beneficial to disable some of these additional start up programs. The disabling of start up programs is done through the System Configuration utility, commonly referred to as 'msconfig.' For instructions on how to start and use the System Configuration utility to disable these programs, click your version of Windows below:

Using the System Configuration utility

Windows XP

  1. Start the System Configuration utility by clicking on Start » Run.

  2. In the Run window, type msconfig and then click OK

  3. The System Configuration Utility window should now appear. Click on the Startup tab.

  4. You should now see a window similar to the one below.

    The Startup tab will include a list with Startup Item, Command and Location.

    This is a list of every program that starts when Windows is loaded. To disable a program, simply un-check the box next to it. If you are unsure if a program should be disabled, please either look it up on ProcessLibrary.com or contact the Help Desk for assistance (See Get Help from DoIT).

  5. When you are done, click OK to apply the changes. After you click OK, click on Restart when asked about restarting your computer.

  6. After your computer has restarted and you have logged back in, check the box next to Don't show this message or launch the System Configuration Utility when Windows starts and then click OK.

Windows 7 & Vista

  1. On your keyboard, press the Windows key (the Apple key on Macs using Boot Camp) and R at the same time.

  2. In the Run window, type msconfig and then click OK

  3. Click on Continue if a User Account Control window appears.

  4. The System Configuration window should now appear. Click on the Startup tab.

  5. You should now see a window similar to the one below.

    The Startup tab will include a list with Startup Item, Manufacturer and Command.

    This is a list of every program that starts when Windows is loaded. To disable a program, simply un-check the box next to it. If you are unsure if a program should be disabled, please either look it up on ProcessLibrary.com or contact the Help Desk for assistance (See Get Help from DoIT).

  6. When you are done, click OK to apply the changes. After you click OK, click on Restart when asked about restarting your computer.

  7. After your computer has restarted and you have logged back in, check the box next to Don't show this message or launch the System Configuration Utility when Windows starts and then click OK.

Windows 8 & 10

  1. On your keyboard, press Ctrl, Alt and Delete at the same time.
  2. Click Task Manager.
  3. Click the Startup tab. You should now see a list of every program that starts when Windows is loaded. To disabled an item, right click on it and click Disable.

    windows8_taskmanager.png

  4. When you are done, close the Task Manager. Changes will apply next time you restart your machine.



Keywords:windows troubleshooting performance problems msconfig slow computer long time win win8 win7 winxp 8 7 vista xp system configuration utility disabling disable start up startup programs 10 win10   Doc ID:1868
Owner:Xander Z.Group:DoIT Help Desk
Created:2003-01-09 19:00 CDTUpdated:2016-08-02 20:57 CDT
Sites:DoIT Help Desk, Southern Illinois University Edwardsville
Feedback:  108   57