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How to Modify Your Startup Programs in Windows 7

Updated on February 14, 2013
Startup programs proliferate like weeds in your PC.
Startup programs proliferate like weeds in your PC. | Source

Are Startup Programs Slowing Down Your Computer?

Every time you switch on your PC, and Windows loads up, it starts off by opening a whole set of programs. You might be surprised at what some of these startup programs are, chances are you are not really sure what some of them do, and don't use a lot of them. Windows 7 seems to pick up startup programs like dogs pick up fleas. They positively proliferate like weeds.

Although many of them will not do any harm to your system, they use up processor and RAM resources that you would much rather use for running programs that you actually decide to use. Depending on how beefed up your system is, they might be slowing it down, and they definitely extend the boot up time.

Of course some programs have to be loaded at the start, to allow you to use your computer. Others are nice to have in the startup menu. For example I like the fact that skype loads automatically every time I turn my PC on. It means I'm always available whenever a member of the family feels like picking up a fight, without having to remember to turn it on. However, I do like to have control over what my computer is doing while I am using it.


How to See a List of Your Startup Programs?

So how do you modify the startup programs in Windows 7? Well for a start don't waste your time looking for a solution in the Windows control panel. You would think that would be a logical place to put the possibility, but microsoft doesn't agree.

To access the list of your startup programs you need to run the System Configuration Utility known as MsConfig. This will open up configuration possibilities that microsoft obviously considers too dangerous for casual users.

How to Change Your Startup Programs

The MsConfig utility is accessible from your start menu. To see and change your startup programs follow these simple steps. You might like to refer to the images below, if you are confused about where the different tabs are.

1. Open up the Start menu in the left corner of your taskbar.

2. Click on the "Run" tab.

3. type "msconfig" into the box provided and hit "OK".

4. The utility will open in its own window. Click on the "Startup" tab.

5. You will now have a list of all the programs Windows 7 loads at startup. Review them and untick the box next to any program that you don't want to load automatically.

6. Click "OK" and you are done. You will be asked whether you want to restart your computer. You don't have to do it immediately but the changes will not take place until you do.

Click thumbnail to view full-size
Access the msconfig utility from the "Run" tab in your start menu
Access the msconfig utility from the "Run" tab in your start menu
Access the msconfig utility from the "Run" tab in your start menu | Source

Be Careful Which Programs You Remove

Deleting programs from the startup list is easy, but you should exercise caution when doing so. Only remove the ones that you absolutely recognise, and are sure you don't need for the proper functioning of your computer. If you are not sure what a program does, you can always Google it.

For example in my list, I have kept the antivirus (bitdefender in my case), the software for my microsoft life camera, and for my mouse and keyboard. I do want these programs to load up automatically. On the other hand I disabled programs such as iTunes, Adobe reader, Adobe updater (there are far too many updaters floating about in my opinion) and other programs that I use occasionally but not all the time.

If you would like to add a program to your startup list, you can usually access this option from the "settings" tab.


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