How To Stop Programs From Starting Automatically In Windows

by on December 26, 2007

Q: How do I stop programs from starting automatically when I start up my computer that I don’t need open when I start up my computer?

A: Great question! Especially if you are using an older system, preventing certain programs from turning on when your computer starts is a good way to increase the speed of your computer. There are basically two different methods of doing this in Microsoft Windows. Some programs like Windows Live Messenger, RealPlayer, and many others have an option buried somewhere within Edit => Preferences that allows you to prevent them from turning on when your computer starts. Since you do not mention in your question which programs’ behavior you would like to modify, I cannot provide exact instructions for you. Each program has the necessary option located in a different place.

Something that I can provide instructions for is a system wide tool in Windows called msconfig. This tool allows you to manually configure which programs start with your computer and which ones do not. There is a great page at that has instructions for Windows 95 through Windows Vista called How to use MSCONFIG. It is worthy of your time to read. Here are the highlights:

  1. Go Start Menu => Run button => and then type msconfig into drop-down menu => press the OK button.
  2. You should then see a new window called System Configuration Utility. Find the tab that is labeled Startup.
  3. You should now see a list of programs, each accompanied by a checkbox. All that you have to do to keep one of these programs from turning on as your computer starts is to remove its checkmark left-clicking. But be Careful! While some of these programs are not important at all, others are critical to the security and stability of your system.
  4. A website called has what seems to be a thorough Startup Applications List, telling you which programs in the Startup list do what in Windows.
  5. If you are ever unsure if a program is important or not, leave it on. That is, leave a checkmark in the box.

Good Luck!

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