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So your computer has been booting up slowly Speeding Up Windows 7: Everything You Need to Know Speeding Up Windows 7: Everything You Need to Know Read More  lately? You probably have too many programs and services  trying to start up all at once. But you haven’t added any programs to your startup, so how do they get there?

Often times, programs will automatically add themselves to the startup. That’s why it’s a good idea to pay attention when installing software A Simple Checklist To Safely Installing Free Software Without All The Junk A Simple Checklist To Safely Installing Free Software Without All The Junk Picture this - you've just found this awesome free software that you are stoked about because of all that it can do for you, but when you install it, you discover that it is packed... Read More  and occasionally remove crapware. How To Remove Unwanted Crapware From Your Brand New Windows 7 System How To Remove Unwanted Crapware From Your Brand New Windows 7 System Read More  That said, not all programs that add themselves to the startup are junk.

Let me show you some of the most common applications and services that you may find automatically starting when you boot up your computer. In addition, we’ll look at how to manage them, and how to determine what you should and shouldn’t allow to startup.

Commonly Found Startup Programs and Services

1. iTunes Helper

If you have a “iDevice” (iPod, iPhone, etc.), this process will automatically launch iTunes when the device is connected with the computer. This is really an unneeded process, as you can manually launch iTunes when you’d like, and is especially unnecessary if you don’t have an Apple device at all.

2. QuickTime

QuickTime allows you to play and open various media files. The program is often required to view web content, specifically videos. But why does it need to “start up”? Short answer: it doesn’t.

3. Apple Push

Apple Push is a notification “service” that is added to the startup when other Apple software is installed. Supposedly, it helps your devices communicate with iCloud and such, but records on forums show that when disabled from the startup, all syncing continues to work.

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4. Adobe Reader

You probably know Adobe Reader as the popular PDF reader on your computer. And although you really don’t need it This Is Why You Don't Need Adobe Reader This Is Why You Don't Need Adobe Reader Adobe Reader isn’t just unnecessary – it has a history of being an application you wouldn’t want on your system. From being extremely heavy and slow to having a long series of security flaws, Adobe... Read More , and there are great alternative PDF readers The 6 Best PDF Readers For Windows The 6 Best PDF Readers For Windows Most people don’t stop to think about the PDF reader they install – they just install Adobe Reader. Adobe's PDF Reader isn’t the only option, though – there are quite a few high-quality, free PDF... Read More , Adobe Reader is still the program of choice for many. Why it “needs” to automatically startup is beyond me, though. Uncheck.

5. Skype

Skype is an awesome video chat program – no one is arguing that. But do you really need it starting up and signing in as soon as you log into Windows? Probably not.

6. Google Chrome

Did you know that for Google Chrome to stay updated and current, you don’t need it and and its other services like Google Installer and Google Update to start up? I’ve disabled those applications and services from starting up, and Google Chrome continues to remain updated.

1 Windows Task Manager - Google Chrome

7. Spotify Web Helper

Spotify is an awesome way to discover new music 5+ Great Spotify Apps For Discovering Music 5+ Great Spotify Apps For Discovering Music The amount of music that you have access to on Spotify can be pretty overwhelming. Rather than miss out on all the amazing music you could be listening to on what is undoubtedly one of... Read More , and with the new Spotify web player A First Look At The Spotify Web Player A First Look At The Spotify Web Player Spotify has changed the way many of us consume music, myself included. I used to buy albums on a regular basis, but once the time came when I'd rip the CD to my computer's hard... Read More , you don’t even need it installed. However, if you do have it installed, you might find this little application in your startup. It simply allows the Spotify desktop application to communicate with your browser, so that when a Spotify song is clicked somewhere on the web, it automatically opens up in the desktop application. Is that feature really worth the added burden to your boot-up time? No.

8. CyberLink YouCam

If you have a webcam, it’s likely that you will have CyberLink’s YouCam for your software. Thus, “they” (the manufactures) feel it should automatically start up. What does it do when it starts up? Nothing, except add unneeded processes. Uncheck.

9. Evernote Clipper

I’m a huge advocate of Evernote Why You Should Be Using Evernote As Your Go-To Place For Remembering Everything Why You Should Be Using Evernote As Your Go-To Place For Remembering Everything Remember Everything. That’s the Evernote motto and that’s what it allows you to do best. If you aren't familiar yet with Evernote, you’re in for a real treat! If you have heard of it, but... Read More and the Web Clipper is amazing. That said, it has always puzzled me why it gets added to the startup. I disabled it and use the Web Clipper on a daily, if not hourly, basis and have never had any issues with it not clipping properly.

10. Microsoft Office

Microsoft Office is the most well-known office suite around. But what good does it do for you when starting up? If you disable it, can you still open any files? Yes. Can you launch any of the programs manually? Yes. Are there any features that you can’t take advantage of? No. Allowing it to start up is merely a burden on your system.

Keep in mind that this applies to any alternative office suites 9 of the Best Free & Low-Cost Alternatives to Microsoft Office 9 of the Best Free & Low-Cost Alternatives to Microsoft Office Microsoft Office has dominated the market of text documents, spreadsheets and slide shows for years, and for good reason – it’s one of the very best. However, there’s one drawback and that is the price.... Read More as well.

Managing Your Startup Programs and Services

2 Windows 7 MSConfig

As mentioned in an article on how to make Windows boot faster How To Make Windows Boot Faster Than Ever Before How To Make Windows Boot Faster Than Ever Before One… two… three… how many minutes does it take your computer to start up? Hopefully not more than three, but it wouldn’t surprise me if you said it surpassed that time. The thing is, our... Read More , System Configuration (Windows 7 version pictured above) is a great local tool to use for managing start up applications and services. You can launch it by typing in “MSConfig” in the Windows Start Menu search box.

2.1 Windows Start Menu search box - msconfig

If you have Windows 8 and don’t have a program like Classic Shell to get a traditional Start Menu back Make Windows 8 Suck Less With Classic Shell Make Windows 8 Suck Less With Classic Shell Make Windows 8 usable for people who think it's not. Add a start menu to the desktop and tweak the way Explorer and Internet Explorer behave, all thanks to a piece of software called Classic... Read More , simply pressing Windows Key + R to launch the Run box and typing in MSConfig will give you the same effect.

3 Windows Run - msconfig

As a Windows 8 user you will also notice that the Startup tab in the System Configuration no longer lists the startup applications. Instead, there is a link pointing you to the Startup tab in the Task Manager, which you can also get to by right clicking on the Windows Taskbar (pictured below) or with the hotkey combination: Ctrl + Shift + Esc.

4 Windows Taskbar Context Menu

Once you are viewing the Startup tab, you can sort the items by name, publisher, status (enabled/disabled), and startup impact (high, medium, low).

5 Windows 8 Task Manager - Startup

It appears as though to prevent services from starting up, you must still uncheck them in System Configuration, as stopping them in the Task Manager only stops them at that time, and they will start again when the system reboots.

6 Windows System Configuration - services

7 Windows Task Manager - Services

To Keep or Not to Keep

This list is not just limited to 10 applications and services that you should remove. You may have more or less depending on the programs you have. For instance, Steam, the popular gaming software 5 Ways To Make Sure You Get The Best Deals On Steam Games 5 Ways To Make Sure You Get The Best Deals On Steam Games Steam is known for being super convenient for managing one’s video game library, and it’s also useful in a few other ways, but did you know that with a bit of effort you can obtain... Read More , is another program that can function perfectly without needing to be added to the system startup.

Suggestions for What You Should Allow to Start Up

The challenge is determining which programs and services outside of the ones listed in this article should be enabled or disabled at startup. Below are some guidelines:

  • Leave alone anything associated with your antivirus (e.g. Avast, Avira, etc.)
  • Services and applications for audio, wireless, touchpads (for laptops) shouldn’t be disabled
  • Be cautious disabling Microsoft services – know exactly what you’re doing
  • Applications and services for Intel and AMD should generally stay enabled
  • Cloud sync programs like Dropbox, SugarSync, Google Drive, etc. should start up
  • Anything you want to run automatically, without your permission (Think: “set and forget”)

Are you curious about some programs that you should let start up, aside from the types mentioned above? It’s really up to user preference, but examples of ones that I allow to start up are Launchy How To Be More Productive with Launchy Program Launcher How To Be More Productive with Launchy Program Launcher Read More , F.lux F.lux Gets A Huge Update With Movie Mode And House F.lux Scheduling F.lux Gets A Huge Update With Movie Mode And House F.lux Scheduling You can now F.lux your house using Philips Hue, enter Movie Mode when you're using your PC as a home theatre or disable it until morning if you're working all night. Read More , and occasionally Flutter Flutter Lets You Control Your Media Using Your Webcam Flutter Lets You Control Your Media Using Your Webcam We're always looking for new ways to control our electronics. Another trend—gestures and movement—can be found by looking at game consoles. Most notably, the Kinect of Microsoft's XBox. Lacking one of those fancy Kinect cameras,... Read More and Everything. Keep in mind that you want to have as little as possible starting up, but you also want to take advantage of your computer’s ability to launch various programs without the need to manually do it.

Websites to Help Evaluate a Program

Due to constant changes in technology, one cannot rely on a single article to determine what all of the non-essential startup items are. Even with given guidelines, sometimes a service or program is unrecognizable or vague in the description. For those, you need to turn to websites with a database of applications and services, that show what they are, who makes them and whether they’re necessary for your computer to run properly. Below is a list of recommended websites:

Helpful Programs for Removing Unneeded Programs

In addition to all the information in this article and in those that were linked to, there are also programs that can help you assess the importance of startup applications and services. We’ve covered programs such as Soluto or AutoRuns. Another program that may be of help is Malwarebytes’ StartUpLITE.

Conclusion and Disclaimer

It’s very important to understand that there is risk in removing services and programs from the startup. Although many are not needed, many others are. Should you remove something critical to your computer starting up, there can be negative consequences. I cannot reiterate enough the importance that you know exactly what to expect upon removing each service and program from starting.

Now that that’s said, what other unneeded processes and services are commonly found in the startup? Do you have any tips for how one might discern between “necessary” and “unnecessary”? We’d love to hear your thoughts, tips and advice.

Image Credit: Microsoft Logo Ms Business Windows via Pixabay

  1. BigJon
    September 20, 2016 at 11:27 am

    Or...
    Stay with win7, install GWX (to block v10 adverts/upgrades), continue working without any problems. (shake head at ignoramouses)

  2. Tanya von Zychlinsky
    August 25, 2016 at 10:53 am

    Hey Aaron, Superbe article. So clear, as I followed each step.

    Here's my situation: I have a greedy dropbox start up on my pc windows 10, barring my way into my own pictures, demanding to gobble up my fresh upload. But I don't want all my photos on dropbox.

    We only installed it to share certain photo files with my friends (who left now after their visit).

    So, I followed along each step of your fantastic article and disabled and stopped it in start up and service, before I read that you suggest to leave dropbox on.

    There are 2 outdated tutorials on youtube, 3 years old (at least it doesn't look like my windows 10), called "Disable automatic photo upload to PC Windows", but everything looks different and I wasn't able to find the settings and preferences box they were talking about, not even via my search boxes. In those preferences, I should be able to uncheck 'enable dropbox', which I assume has a different function than disabling start up (since this is only about start up disabling?).

    I have windows 10 on my laptop PC Samsung.

    I'm sure I'm not the only one, would you consider making a video step-by-step tutorial for this: "Disable automatic photo upload dropbox on Windows 10"), please?

    I'm stuck with this right now and the only other solution for me would be to delete dropbox entirely. I can't upload my photos the way I want to, i.e. not continue to take photos as I was about to. I remember now that I had this very dropbox drama once before and ended up deleting it, not wanting it back, till my friend suggested this 'good idea'. Is it, if it behaves like an invasive munch monster?

    Any help?

    Thank you so much,
    Your article was fantastic!

  3. Sean
    July 15, 2015 at 6:59 pm

    Very helpful information. Also, sort of off topic but it at least pertains to making a computer startup quicker (I would think) and overall perform a little faster as well - again I'm not positive...so I was wondering how do I safely convert or change my system over to 64-bit mode since it runs in the 32-bit architecture (and safely) by default? Do I have to uninstall/install certain system programs so my OS doesn't crash or even worse and make my computer inoperative? FYI I have an HP ENVY TouchSmart 23se-d494 with Win8.1 if that helps at all.

    Sorry, maybe it is too way O/T but if you know anything about this I'd appreciate your assistance.

  4. Alexandre
    May 13, 2015 at 7:36 pm

    Mind blown, best online article I read in a while, organized team. Thanks a lot.

    • Aaron Couch
      May 21, 2015 at 2:26 am

      Wow! Thanks for such a nice compliment, Alexandre. That means a lot!

  5. Trevor
    May 6, 2015 at 1:35 pm

    I tried to diable Quicktime and applepush on start up but the disable is not available. Any suggestions?

    • Aaron Couch
      May 6, 2015 at 6:15 pm

      Trevor,

      Just so I have an idea, what version of Windows are you using?

  6. Jose Velez
    April 24, 2015 at 8:30 am

    When my computer start, it tries to run:
    - Google hangout client
    - Skype client
    - Mega client
    - Dropbox client
    - BTSync client

    I need all this services, but I don't need all of the at the very start. So, I start the services in staggered manner. To do this, I have make a script that start these services in this way:

    timeout 100 >null
    mega
    timeout 100 >null
    dropbox
    timeout 100 >null
    /opt/google/chrome/google-chrome --no-startup-window

    It speed up the start up sequence in a definitive way.

    • Aaron Couch
      April 24, 2015 at 2:35 pm

      Good suggestion! I've done that in the past myself.

  7. John Williams
    January 20, 2015 at 2:59 pm

    Before you do all the above software tricks for speed-up, take a moment to think how long you have owned your system. Once a year I put my car in for service and the compulsory government safety tests.
    While your car is in dock why not service your computer?

    I've recently taken to buying 2009 Dell laptops with Vista to refurbish for my many Grandchildren. If you run one of these alongside a current i5 64bit box with 8Gb of RAM you'll tear your hair out at its grinding slowness.

    Remarkably, using all the start up advice above and adding an SSD the results are startling. If the kit you are running is even only 3 years old it probably needs more work than just fixing the start up time. Go on - take it to pieces, clean the dust out, reinstall Windows and at least look at the price of an SSD. You hammer your computer thousands of hours more than you do you car .... Maybe the government should make it a legal requirement for an annual computer service ...... just kidding!

  8. Cole Krasznay
    January 11, 2015 at 10:02 pm

    I have a question for the author, and anyone else who might know...

    I've been trying to figure out what the difference between "Adobe Acrobat" and "Adobe Reader and Acrobat Manager" is.

    If I had to make a good guess, I would think that Adobe Acrobat is the program its self, and that "Adobe Reader and Acrobat Manager" is what allows automatic Updates.

    If anyone happens to know what the difference actually is, then please let me know.

    I would like Acrobat to update on its own. If neither of these two are applicable to that, then I would gladly like to disable both of them on startup.

    I hope this question isn't too off topic for this article, and if it is then I apologize in advance.

  9. Sean
    July 10, 2014 at 1:22 pm

    I used Glary, but after disabling many startup programs, according to Glary my "startup time" is the same and in the slowest 1% (1 minutes, 56 seconds). Any advice?

  10. OST
    April 26, 2014 at 2:33 am

    thanks, your recommendation helps

  11. John P
    February 14, 2014 at 7:28 am

    Might need to verify your suggested sites. Went to Sysinfo.org and found this notice...
    "Unfortunately, due to a change in my circumstances, the startup programs database here at Sysinfo.org will no longer be updated and the off-line downloads are no longer available. The version at Pacman's Portal will, however, continue to be updated and it's recommended that you refer to that site for more up to date information."

  12. Scott T
    January 22, 2014 at 2:59 am

    That is some great tips there. Much appreciated. Adobe seems to be the silent killer. I have started using Foxit PDF, seems to be much lighter to run.

  13. SavannahTom
    January 21, 2014 at 12:27 am

    Thanks, Aaron, I just disabled Acrobat at startup. Now will it stop telling me that an update is available? :)

  14. Albin
    January 20, 2014 at 3:12 pm

    BlackViper's "safe" settings have been part of my Windows set up regime for years. Also use CCleaner file and registry clean ups and tweak all those start up processes from within it, even on a new Windows install.

  15. Schmolle
    January 18, 2014 at 11:47 pm

    Most software actually will have an option that you can turn off to prevent it starting up at boot. (Skype, for instance) Not having it running also means you are not online and contactable. (YMMV depending on how you use Skype).

    Googles update services update your stuff BEFORE you run it. Using Chrome will eventually update itself anyway; just later. I have Chrome running pretty much permanently, so I tend to kill those services as well.

    A few items on your list (Office, Acrobat Reader) don't actually start, but rather 'preload' part of their binaries, so that when you do open, say, a PDF file, it opens much faster. On memory-starved machines (RAM usage hovering at about 70% or higher) this is not worth it and disabling this preload may prevent your machine from thrashing swapped memory (also known as 'speed of molasses with permanently rattling disk')

    Rather than using the very limited and user-hostile msconfig, you can get a very thorough view of your system using Autoruns from the Sysinternals suite. (Google it) Especially on older, worn down systems you will find a staggering amount of stuff that points to software you ought to outright uninstall, startup items that point to dead ends (and can be deleted from within Autoruns), as well as stuff that you just don't want to start up automatically.

    Last point: loooong boot times often are caused because of 24 programs all starting up for some stupid little update check task all at the same time. Use Startup Delayer from R2 Studios to (a) prioritise the order in which stuff gets loaded and (b) defer useful but non-urgent to when your machine basically has nothing better to do anyway. Even on well-equipped machines, it can dramatically shorten the time between 'power-on' and 'start using the program you turned the PC on for in the first place'.

  16. Tom H
    January 18, 2014 at 6:27 pm

    I use the free "Quick Startup" from Glarysoft.com.

  17. Black Vise
    January 18, 2014 at 4:18 pm

    Run Windows under Linux, and compare

  18. Sathish
    January 18, 2014 at 5:28 am

    I use Soluto - that has a better UI than the others, which makes it easier to make decisions...

  19. Greg L
    January 18, 2014 at 4:59 am

    Does this really work?

    • Knives
      January 18, 2014 at 1:08 pm

      Remarkably. Uninstalling unnecessary programs (ones you barely use) will also help, and i suggest you change your power settings to "High performance" (preferably when you laptop is connect to a powers source).

  20. Rob
    January 18, 2014 at 3:18 am

    Revo Uninstaller also has an effective startup/autorun manager.

    • Aaron C
      January 18, 2014 at 4:08 am

      You're right, Rob. Personally I've started to lean away from Revo Uninstaller because it doesn't list all the programs on a 64-bit operating system. But it has a lot of awesome features, including a good startup manager!

  21. Laurel
    January 17, 2014 at 7:27 pm

    WinPatrol (free) and CCleaner (free) have excellent startup managers that are often easier to work with than msconfig.

    • Aaron C
      January 17, 2014 at 8:09 pm

      You're absolutely right, Laurel! Perhaps I should have mentioned those two in this article. Thanks for doing so in the comments.

  22. Joel L
    January 17, 2014 at 7:06 pm

    Nice list. I just disabled MS Office, QuickTime, and Logitech Camera from my startup list. Hopefully that'll be enough to fix my crawling startup speeds. (I only have Puush, F.lux, Steam, Dropbox, Postbox, and Catalyst Control Center so I don't know why it's so dang slow...) Thanks Aaron!

    • Aaron C
      January 17, 2014 at 8:12 pm

      I know the feeling Joel, and it's quite frustrating. It's especially confusing/frustrating when it's a fairly new computer that you are conscientious about what programs are running, installed, etc. If you do make progress on improving the speed, keep me posted!

    • Joel L
      January 18, 2014 at 5:08 pm

      As it turns out, not defragging your drives for ~3 years can really slow things down. My various partitions were fragmented anywhere from 20% to 70% each. Just spent a whole day defragging and things seem to be running more smoothly.

  23. Totoliciu D
    January 17, 2014 at 6:46 pm

    Try Tune Up Utilities, it solve this problem among manny others.

    • Aaron C
      January 17, 2014 at 8:10 pm

      Thanks for the recommendation. After looking it up though, I see that there's only a trial version for free, which is a bummer.

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