So your computer has been booting up slowly 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 and occasionally remove crapware. 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.
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.
4. Adobe Reader
You probably know Adobe Reader as the popular PDF reader on your computer. And although you really don’t need it, and there are great alternative PDF readers, Adobe Reader is still the program of choice for many. Why it “needs” to automatically startup is beyond me, though. Uncheck.
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.
7. Spotify Web Helper
Spotify is an awesome way to discover new music, and with the new Spotify web player, 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 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 as well.
Managing Your Startup Programs and Services
As mentioned in an article on how to make Windows boot faster, 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.
If you have Windows 8 and don’t have a program like Classic Shell to get a traditional Start Menu back, simply pressing Windows Key + R to launch the Run box and typing in MSConfig will give you the same effect.
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.
Once you are viewing the Startup tab, you can sort the items by name, publisher, status (enabled/disabled), and startup impact (high, medium, low).
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.
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, 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, F.lux, and occasionally Flutter 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:
- Should I Block It?
- BleepingComputer.com – Startup Programs Database
- Glarysoft – Startup Applications
- Malwarebytes’ Forum – Unnecessary Startups
- Pacman’s Portal – Windows Startup Programs Database
- PC Pitstop – Process Library
- Black Viper’s Windows 7 Service Pack 1 Service Configurations
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