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How to Disable Windows Startup Programs the Easy Way
Last updated: 4/9/02

Q.  How can I conveniently turn-off startup programs to free-up system resources and make my computer faster?

A.  The hard way is to click Start, Settings, Taskbar and Start Menu, Advanced, etc. and delete or move shortcuts to startup programs. You'll have to do that for Windows 95.  For users of Windows 98 and Me, the easy way is to click Start, Run, enter msconfig, choose the Startup tab, and uncheck unwanted startup programs... and restart Windows.  You can turn them back on by reversing the process, or selectively execute individual Startup Programs you have turned off by clicking Start, Programs, Disabled Startup Items… You may also want to use msconfig to turn-off load= and run= programs in win.ini and any undesired executables in the DOS autoexec.bat file (Windows 9x, not Me. autoexec.bat entries for Me are transferred to the Windows registry the next time Windows boots).  These are usually, but not always, older programs associated with a device such as printer or MODEM.  Do should  turn off anything that you do not understand, but most are obvious.  Windows 98/Me will normally run:

  • ScanRegistry
  • TaskMonitor
  • SystemTray
  • LoadPowerProfile

On most computers.

For those who are more venturous, there are Windows Registry entries that control Startup programs  To access them, click Start, Run, enter regedit, expand the tree by clicking boxes with a + in them to
and other keys starting with run.  Before making any changes I strongly recommend backing-up the registry by following the steps in regedit Help.

Another option, and one which will free-up disk space, is to permanently uninstall unwanted Startup programs with the manufactures uninstall program or in Start, Settings, Control Panel, Add/Remove Programs.  One should not attempt to uninstall programs by simply deleting files and folders with the Windows Explorer.  That leaves registry entries behind and can cause all sorts of problems. 


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Also, see Windows Tips and Tricks.

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