How To Disable Startup Programs Windows 8/7/XP/Vista

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Most software needs at least a component to be continuously running in the background in order for it to function properly. During the installation of these software, they will insert these components into your Windows Startup programs list to automatically run them whenever your Windows is booted. This post explains how to disable startup programs in Windows 8/7/Vista/XP.

Whether the program is being used or not, any service or task set to run upon startup will continuously running without your permission (because you have most likely granted them the permission to run as startup program back when you installed it).

All these programs take up memory, CPU time, and other resources and can significantly slow down or even crash your system. Some can be extremely annoying as they also hog away your internet speed and bandwidth. To learn how to disable startup programs in Windows 8/7/Vista/XP, proceed to the tutorial below.

How to Disable Startup Programs in Windows 8/7/XP/Vista?

There are many different ways to prevent programs from running at startup. Methods listed below are among the most common and easiest ones.

Method 1: Configuring Windows Startup Folders for Windows 8/7/XP/Vista/95/98/Me

You may find a number of program shortcuts if you go to (Start –> Programs –> Startup) or (Start –> All Programs –> Startup). Programs of these shortcuts will run at startup. Just delete the shortcuts that you don’t want to run at startup.

  • Win9x/98/Me – C:\Windows\Start Menu\Programs\StartUp
  • WinNT/2K – C:\Winnt\Profiles\All Users\Start Menu\Programs\StartUp
  • WinXP – C:\Documents and Settings\All Users\Start Menu\Programs\Startup
  • Windows 8/7 – C:\Users\yourusername\AppData\Roaming\Microsoft\Windows\Start Menu\Programs\Startup

Method 2: Using System Configuration Utility (MSCONFIG)

Disable Startup Programs Windows 8/7/Vista via MSCONFIG:

The easiest way to access MSCONFIG is by going to the “Start”, then type the msconfig and wait for a second for the windows to search for the utility, finally click on the MSCONFIG shown on top of the menu.

How To Disable Startup Programs Windows 8/7/XP/Vista

How To Disable Startup Programs Windows 8/7

Disable Startup Programs Windows XP and older via MSCONFIG:

Access MSCONFIG by going to the Start –> Run, then type msconfig and press enter.


To Disable Startup Programs

Under the Startup tab there is a list of all the programs that start in the Windows Registry. Just uncheck the programs you don’t want to load and leave the rest alone. After you’ve made your selections, click Apply and Ok.

How To Disable Startup Programs Windows 8 7

How To Disable Startup Programs Windows

Some of the startup programs are important especially if they are one of the components needed to run your Windows system correctly. If you are not sure about any of the services, you better leave the item untouched, but you are free to experiment (you can always turn them on again). If you have no idea what all the above are and find the instructions way too complicated for you, you are advised not to simply disable startup programs. It’s better to ask your friends who are good in computing to help you out.

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  • jon

    This issue is the mouse hides behind the screen on about 50% of the programs loaded on this vista machine. Gateway tech suggested I contact you regarding a fix that had to do with disabling startup programs. Do you think that disabling such programs will fix this apparent vista problem?

  • Alvin Nyau

    There might be many reasons for this. You can try disabling such programs but I’m not sure it will be fixed. I personally think that you should recall what you’ve installed to your vista machine that caused you these problems, and then disable or uninstall these programs immediately.

    I hope this would help you out. Best of Luck!

  • don

    Taking your advice to disable certain programs from startup. I did what you said and my OS is winxp pro. When I hit apply for changes to take effect, the following appeared.
    Access denied error while attempting to change a service, you may need to log on using an administrator account to make the specified changes.
    There is only one admin and thats me so any ideas why I can’t do this?

  • frank

    You have to go to the main startup menu then press ctrl, alt, delete. Type in Administrator as a user name and click okay. It will log you on as the computer Admin, this certain Admin never shows up on the startup menu unless all accounts are deleted, but, you cannot delete the main Admin account.

  • Elois Cable

    What start up programs should be checked in windows vista?

  • Finaoc

    Hi Alvin,

    Just wondering if a printer hp that is new and cheap would takes much system resources at the startup. My laptop is a 256mb ram toshiba satellite, m35x s111, with Windows XP. I don’t have many files on it. A few pics and a few excel files and I use mozilla firefox. Forget about pdf files, when i browse i just go to html version of pdf. It’s just that I’m getting peak every session of using virtual memory which is too low with pop up. It’s basically slowing greatly.

  • Spencer Christie

    Thank you so much! I recently installed a programme and i wanted to uninstall it but it wouldn’t let me. At every startup it would come up configuring itself then say it doesn’t have the required information. This has annoyed myself and my dad a lot! This has also stopped other annoying startup programs that I have!

  • Marsguy

    Thanks it helped very much.

  • Alvin Nyau

    You are extremely welcome!

  • Luke

    Hi I’ve got a toshiba laptop and it won’t let me use the webcam on msn and I called toshiba and they said it would cost me $66 to fix it and then he said I can google it on google so I did and I found how to do it. So, I disabled it and then restarted it and it is still not working. I dont know what to do anymore.

  • Tom

    That’s why I will not buy Toshiba products. They seem to always include something proprietary that’ll be a cash grab later. Perfectly good vcr collecting dust because can’t change tv/vcr without buying “their” replacement remote (none of the universal remotes work, and the vcr doesn’t have a button to do this like all my other vcr’s which all are now collecting dust anyways, but the Toshiba was the first.)

  • Luke

    Thank you. Well my laptop is all good now my webcam work all the time now I blocked the site that was blocking it from working on msn. I didn’t have to pay $66 which is good but other then that the laptop is really good.

  • nicholas turo

    If I use MSCONFIG to disable some programs so they won’t load and run at startup. Am I permanently disabling these programs? Or is this just a temporary disabling? I mean should I manually restart these temporarily disabled programs shortly after startup? And if so, how do I do that? Thank you.

  • Baxter

    You are not permanently disabling them, you can go back in at any time and just re-check them to enable them again. Great article for vista and xp!

    Here is a look at how to do it in Windows 7.


  • Angi

    Can someone please explain how I get Internet explorer to run on my XP Home Edition DELL laptop WITHOUT it attempting to come up under the previous owner’s “Microsoft Internet Explorer provided by ATnT WorldNet Service”? It is keeping me from accessing the internet altogether. All I keep getting is the ‘Cannot find server’ ‘The page cannot be displayed’ (Cannot find server or DNS error) messages. ANY advice would be greatly appreciated!

  • Alvin Nyau

    From what you’ve written up there, it seems like you don’t have a stable internet connection for your laptop. You’ve mentioned about AT&T which I think it should be the cause of the problem. You should contact with your service provider for the solution of your problem.

  • Abdul

    Thanks. It really helped.

  • Alvin Nyau

    You’re welcome.

  • wugate

    It is very easy to disable startup without third party software. How to disable startup and remove startup record.

  • Alvin Nyau

    I don’t really get what you meant. You are very welcome to send me an email if you are facing any problem that perhaps I can help you out.

  • Barry

    I need to disable my security system so I am able to install a wireless printer on my computer running XP. After I install the printer I need to enable the security. How do I do this without losing the security program. Thank you.

  • Alvin Nyau

    Your question is totally off topic, but we’ll answer the best way we can. You don’t have to uninstall your security system just to install a printer. There might be an option for you to exclude your printer from extra security check. We don’t know what securty system you’re using, therefore we are unable to point you the steps to exclude it. Feel free to email us with extra details and we will try our best to help you out.

  • wilma

    How do I know which programs are deletable and which ones are not in my startup folder?

  • Alvin Nyau

    In that case, you will have to do searches for all processes to see if they are deletable or not. There’re some common programs which appear in most computer but there’re also some processes uniquely required to run some of your important programs. Take your time and eventually you will get familiar with all processes you have. Hope this will somehow help you out.

    Thank you for visiting!

  • Emma

    Hi everybody,

    My laptop has been crushed a couple of times. It all started with disabling some Vaio content analyzer as it was interrupting and slowing down my computer’s speed every time it was on. So I went to internet searching for some information if it’s ok to uninstall it and found that it could be disabled in msconfig. I found it in service section of msconfig and disabled it, but after a couple of hours my laptop crushed, and any of my attempt to restart it wouldn’t help. It would turn off even before getting the main start window. Then I went to save mode, opened msconfig and enabled evth back as it was before. It helped, I was able to work as usual, but at night it crashed again, went to msconfig, and what I saw was that all the files that I enabled stated as disabled. I enabled them again, but seems like the pc is going to crush again. So, please help me to solve this problem.

    Thank you in advance,

  • Alvin Nyau

    Dear Emma,
    The very first mistake you’ve made in your situation is that you went to touch the things in the “Services” tab. They are extremely sensitive and shouldn’t be touched.
    To solve your problem, you have to first identify what services have been disabled and try to re-enable them. There’re several options when handling a service. You can choose to enable it immediately, or enable it automatically whenever you start your computer, or disable it. Select the Automatic option. If this can’t help you out. Search the name of the services on the internet and try to get some info about them such as whether or not they should be enabled.
    If your problem is yet to be solved after doing all above, then your problem might be caused by another unknown problem. You have to seek for a professional to fix it for you.
    Good luck to you!

  • Emma

    Hi Alvin,

    Thanks a lot for your time and advice. I remember the files I disabled, and after enabling everything back second time, that disabled file is stated as running, but some of the files related to Vaio like Vaio Entertainment Content, etc. are stated as “stopped”. Alvin I didn’t quite understand how to do this part of your advice. I mean how to select it automatically? I went to msconfig and didn’t see “automatic” enabling box.

    Thanks again,

  • Alvin Nyau

    Dear Emma,

    These options appear in Control Panel > System and Security > Administrative Tools > Services. Find the processes you’re looking for, right click and select properties. Choose the startup type for the process.

    Feel free to leave message here again if you have further problems. I’m more than happy to help.

  • Emma

    Hi Alvin,

    Thanks for the email and advice, but I was able to fix it thanks to a site which gave the detailed information which was very similar to my situation. So it was pretty easy and safe to follow the instruction. I am very happy to get everything back.

    Thanks again.

  • brian

    Items I want to remove from startup are not listed. I have tried deleting shortcut but it does not help.

  • Sendiansmail

    Hi Alvin,

    I have logged on as admin and for good reason, disabled all start up menu using msconfig. However, as soon as I reboot, the startup items are all ticked again. Any suggestions?


  • Thelcr04

    This website is very helpful. Thanks, keep the good work!

  • Alvin Nyau

    Thanks for your lovely comment.

  • Plipz

    How do you permanently delete them so it won’t be on startup anymore?

  • Ytjr1

    Thanks. Forgot the command, piece of cake.

  • Maxy

    Are the following important for startup? In other words which ones can i do without, to improve my startup speed?
    1. Synoptics pointing device driver
    2. HP tone control
    3. Java Platform
    4. Microsoft intellipoint
    5. Catalyst control center
    6. Hpwuschd application
    7. Kaspersky
    8. HpqSRmon application

  • Fred Mcwatt

    How to uninstall a corrupt installation?

  • TapiocaTea

    I can’t find the webcam software in the startup list (not in any recognizable form – only Eset, Google Toolbar, and several Intel Common User Interfaces, whatever that is).  I have Windows 7 on a Sony VAIO laptop, and I can’t figure out how to make the webcam stop flashing every time I start up the computer (which unnerves me even though it is likely standard).  Please help!  Thanks!

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