How to Prevent Apps from Running on Startup in Windows 11

This eventually happens to all Windows users.

You buy a fancy new PC and everything goes well at first. And then, slowly but surely, it starts to feel slower. Every week or month things take a little longer to load, until your PC feels like it’s working. Windows 1.0not Windows 11.

If that describes you, it’s probably time you looked at what apps are running on startup and cut things back to the basics.

We are here to help you. There are several ways to prevent apps from loading as soon as you log into Windows 11, but we’ll go over some of the simpler and more common ones.

Quick and easy: the task manager

Probably the quickest and most effective way to regularly check startup applications is to use the task manager.

First things first: open the task manager by pressing Ctrl+Shift+Esc on your keyboard. Then go to the “Startup” tab.

You will now see a list of all the applications that are set to launch when you turn on your computer, along with the estimated startup impact – how much they slow down your computer startup. You can sort apps by impact level by tapping on the “Startup Impact” column.

Chances are you’ll see apps there that you either totally forgot to have installed or didn’t know should be launched at startup. I like Spotify, but I don’t need it to load Everytime I turn on my PC.

Then just select the app(s) you want to prevent from launching on startup and tap “Disable” in the bottom right. You can also right-click on an item in the list and select “Disable” from there.

Alternative: the Settings menu

I like using Task Manager because I already use it often to close running apps, and it’s easily accessible via a simple keyboard shortcut. But you can also disable startup apps through the Windows 11 Settings menu.

Just open the Start menu and type “Startup Applications”. This should take you directly to the Startup section of the Settings menu and offer you the same set of information available in Task Manager.

Windows 11 Starter Apps

If that doesn’t work for some reason, you can open the Settings menu from Start, then go to Applications > Startup.

You can then disable (or enable, you’re rebelling) each app by tapping the toggle on the right.

Go further: disable services in the system configuration menu

You have disabled all unnecessary applications, but your PC is still slow. While disabling startup apps should usually do the trick, it’s possible that a background service is preventing your PC from running as smoothly as possible.

Startup services are not quite the same thing as startup applications. While apps only load once a user logs in, services apply to all user accounts on your PC. Also, services run in the background and have no associated interface, so you might not be aware of most of the services running on your PC.

A word of warning before continuing: I wouldn’t recommend messing with your startup services unless you’re sure what you’re disabling.

You probably shouldn’t disable anything listed as being made by Microsoft, lest you run into various bugs or be really sure what you’re doing.

And even if it’s not done by Microsoft, disabling a service could break a commonly used app or function. Some apps run background services to prevent hacking and won’t load without them running, for example. Other times, your PC’s hardware and accessories may depend on a specific service for full functionality.

Still, these changes are reversible, so you’re unlikely to set your PC on fire by disabling a service. Probably.

If none of this has deterred you, press Win + R and type ‘msconfig.’ You can also type “msconfig” in the Start menu.

This will open a window titled System Configuration. Head to the “Services” tab, where you’ll likely see a bazillion services listed.

Windows 11 Startup Services

However, most of them are probably Microsoft services, so you can tap the handy “Hide all Microsoft services” checkbox to filter those in the list.

From here you can uncheck the services you want to disable. If in doubt, a web search can provide more information on whether a service can be safely disabled. But again, proceed with caution.

And that’s about it. Hopefully these tips will get your PC running like new again. Just be sure to check for new startup apps and services at regular intervals to keep your PC running smoothly for the long term.

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