2. Manage startup items
As you install and accumulate more and more applications, your startup times get impacted too. Why? That's because some of these programs are set to launch automatically when Windows starts. This creates a bottleneck as these startup applications take turns to launch. As your computer processes this launch information, Windows waits for all of these programs to finish their routines before relinquishing control.
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:
- 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.
- On the Task Manager window, go to the Startup tab.
- The Startup tab will list all your startup items with their name, publisher, status and startup impact.
- Review each item carefully and right-click and select Disable on programs that you don't want to auto-start.
Before you start disabling all of your startup items, there are a few things to consider. You may want to leave anti-virus, security and backup software on auto-start to be on the safe side. Other startup items that may require auto-start are hardware-related software and cloud-syncing services (if you rely on services like Dropbox or OneDrive.)
Don't worry if you uncheck a startup item in the Task Manager by accident, you are not uninstalling the program and you can always go back and undo any changes you've made.
For more advanced startup tweaking, try a third-party startup manager like Autoruns. This program extends beyond what the Task Manager Startup tab shows you since it also lists hidden Windows services and drivers. Be careful when disabling startup items with this program though because it's designed more for advanced users. Inadvertently unchecking a program may cause even more startup issues. If you are not comfortable with the cryptic names and registry settings that Autoruns provide, just stick with the Task Manager.