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Why turning off your startup items will make you so much happier

Ever wondered why your computer seems to boot up slower and longer each time you start it up? The longer you’ve had it, it feels like the worse it gets. Yep, a long startup time is one of the most aggravating ordeals for a computer user.

Here’s the routine – you press your computer’s power button, it springs to life, but it takes several minutes before you can even take full control.

You twiddle your thumbs, tap letters on your keyboard, move the cursor around with your mouse, but nothing is clickable. For your patience, your computer rewards you with a loading spinning wheel that looks just as excited as you are to move things along.

Check your startup items

Before you start banging on your keyboard or thinking about chucking your computer to the nearest recycle bin, try turning off your computer’s startup items.

Why? Because when you install and accumulate more and more applications, your startup times get impacted by programs that are set to launch automatically when your computer starts.

This creates a bottleneck as these startup applications take turns to launch. As your computer processes this launch information, it waits for all of these programs to finish their routines before relinquishing control. To move things along, you’ll need to review your computer’s inessential startup items.

Here’s how you do it on both Mac and PC:

Mac: Cleanup startup menu

If you have had your Mac for a while, chances are certain things on the computer have been building up over time. Checking things like the login items on your computer is a great way to see if there are any unused apps hogging your application memory.

To do so, simply go to “System Preferences,” choose “Users and Groups,” and then select your User. From there, choose the “Login Items” option to display the applications that open during startup.

Then select the apps you do not want opening automatically and click the “Minus” sign down below.

PC: Trim your startup items

Before we get going, we should explain why computers take forever to start, and why they get worse over time. When your computer starts, it’s moving information from your slow hard drive, or “storage,” to the much faster RAM, also called “memory.”

The more information that your computer has to move, the longer your computer takes to start. And as your computer ages, more information builds up. So, unless you want to upgrade to faster hardware (more on that later), the trick is to reduce the amount of information it has to move.

The best way to do this is to stop programs from loading automatically at startup. Many programs on your computer are set to automatically run right away, but most don’t have to.

On Windows 10 (or 8.1), there’s a quick way to check and manage your startup items. They’re conveniently listed on a Task Manager tab.

To check your startup items:

  1. Open Task Manager. Do this by right-clicking on an empty space on the taskbar then selecting “Task Manager.” You can also use the keyboard shortcut Ctrl + Shift + Esc.
  2. On the Task Manager window, go to the Startup tab.
  3. The Startup tab will list all your startup items with their name, publisher, status and startup impact.
  4. Review each item carefully and right-click and select Disable on programs that you don’t want to auto-start.


That isn’t the only place startup programs are found. You can use a program like Autoruns to find another list of startup items and disable the ones that aren’t important. Autoruns tells you exactly what each program does, and it knows enough not to disable essential startup programs like your security software. Trust us; security software is well worth the time it takes to load.

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Do you have a computer that’s on its last legs? Try these tricks before kicking your computer to the curb. They could save you money and ease your mind.

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