How to Clean Up Startup on Your Computer

by Joshua Phillips

A common complaint of many computer users is that their computer takes too long to boot up or that it runs slow after restarting. One cause of this is having too many programs automatically running when Windows starts up. When installed, many computer programs automatically set themselves to start running as soon as the computer boots, often without your knowledge. There are three ways to clean up the amount of programs that launch when you start your computer: the Microsoft recommended "Uninstall or Change a Program" window, deleting the shortcut or program from the Startup folder and by using the System Configuration tool.

Uninstall Or Change A Program Window

Step 1

Click "Control Panel" in the Start menu.

Step 2

Click "Uninstall a Program" listed below the "Programs" category to display a list of the programs currently installed on your computer.

Step 3

Click the program you want to change to highlight its listing.

Click "Change" in that window that opens. If there is no option to change the program or to stop it from launching at startup, removing it from the Startup folder. Alternatively, you can uninstall the program completely to stop it from launching at startup.

Startup folder

Step 1

Open the Start menu.

Step 2

Click "All Programs." Alternatively, hover your mouse pointer over the "All Programs" button for a few seconds to automatically open the window.

Step 3

Click "Startup" to show the programs that launch when your computer starts up. If this list is empty, or the program you are looking for is not present, use the System Configuration tool.

Right-click the program you want to stop from launching at startup. Click "Delete" to delete it from the startup folder. The deleted program will no longer launch when you boot the computer.

System Configuration

Step 1

Open the Start menu.

Step 2

Type "msconfig," without the quotation marks, into the search bar at the bottom of the Start menu. Press "Enter" to launch the System Configuration tool.

Step 3

Click the "Startup" tab.

Step 4

Click the box to remove the checkmark next to any program you no longer want to run at startup time.

Step 5

Click "Apply" followed by "Close."

Click "Restart" to reboot your computer.


  • Some programs, such as those by Microsoft, are necessary to run when the computer starts. Research each program fully before disabling it.
  • Using the System Configuration tool should only be a last resort, as Microsoft does not recommend it as a startup management program.


  • These methods also apply to Windows Vista.
  • Many programs include settings to stop them from launching at startup. Consult the specific program's documentation to see if it is possible to stop it from launching at startup within the program itself.
  • If none of the above methods are successful in stopping a program launching at startup, download the Microsoft-endorsed Autoruns program (see Resources). However, keep in mind this program is not for PC beginners.
  • Whether the program's Uninstall window offers a Change button, or even allows you to stop it from launching at startup, is dependent on the program.


About the Author

Joshua Phillips has done it all when it comes to video games: strategy guides, previews, reviews, in-depth interviews with developers and extensive public relations work. He has written for websites such as Hardcore Gaming 101 and MyInsideGamer.

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