Anth's Computer Cave Tutorials

How to Stop Programs Starting when Windows Starts

The Problem

The problem with many programs is they think they're the most important tool on your computer, and they're happy to use system resources while they wait - sometimes for years - for you to actually use them

By default many programs attempt to load at startup, when Windows starts. This not only slows the boot process, but means the program stays on, albeit on standby, the entire time the computer is on. The software makers' justification is that their program will start quicker when you need it, but you're usually talking just a couple of seconds. It's a bit like leaving your television on standby when you go on holidays for six months.

The Solution

Most programs let you select whether they start when Windows does, or when you actually need to run them. This feature is not always easy to spot. It can be a small tick-box on one of the numerous screens that appear during installation, or their may be an option to turn it off in the program's settings window.

If not, it's into the settings we go!

I've said it before, and I'll say it again: Back up, Set a restore point.

Go to start and in the search box type msconfig and press enter.

You'll see a window like this.

Select the Startup tab at the top of the window.

Now you see which programs can, or do, start with Windows. The entries with the tick are set to start automatically, the others with the empty check box can start automatically if you wish them to.

You may have many more entries on your system than I have on mine (I keep my system fairly tidy), but that's okay. Now you need to decide which entries you should keep and which you should uncheck.

Anything related to your anti-virus programs must be enabled. If you need to turn any features on or off you should do it from within the program's own settings window.

If you're an Instant Messenger or email junkie you should leave any entries for your mail and chat programs. These could include Outlook, MSN or Skype. It all depends if the program features notifications that you want to receive immediately after you turn on your computer. Skype is a prime example of a program that may need to run at startup. It may slow your computer down, but its capabilities are reduced if it does not start when you log on, because you will not receive Skype calls unless it is turned on. If you're only a casual Skype user, or if you have a slow system, un-tick it in the startup menu and start it manually when required

Printer, scanner or camera software should never start with Windows

I generally disable anything to do with Microsoft Office but if your a heavy Outlook user you would leave that checked. Personally I use web-based email clients so I don't need Outlook at all.

ITunes and QuickTime should never run at startup. If you must use these apps, leave them switched off until you need them.

Mobile phone software is another pet hate of mine. Why anyone would need this to start automatically I just don't know.

The important thing to remember is that if you disable a program in startup, you can still use it if rquired. You just need to start it in the normal fasion from All Programs in the Start menu.

If you are unsure about any particular entries, disable them one at a time, restarting your system each time. If you find issues you can simply re-tick the box and restart to solve the problem.

My system

I'll explain what these entries on my machine are and why I have them checked:

Disabling entries

Once you have decided which entries you wish yo disable, you simple need to untick the check box and select apply. You'll be asked to restart your computer.

When the system restarts you'll see a new System Configuration window.

Tick the box for Don't show this message again and click OK.

That's it, you've taken control of your system.

Cheers

Anth

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