How to disable startup programs on Windows 11

Are you tired of apps slowing down the startup process of Windows 11? Here are four effective ways to prevent apps from running automatically on startup.

Windows 11 disable startup programs
Windows 11 disable startup programs / Image: Mauro Huculak
  • To disable apps at startup on Windows 11, open Settings > Apps > Startup and turn off the programs you don’t want running at startup, you can also use the Task Manager, the “Startup” folder, and the Registry.

On Windows 11, you can stop programs from running automatically at startup in at least four ways, and in this guide, I will explain this configuration. Some programs can start automatically as you start your computer and sign in to your account. Although it may be convenient to access applications faster, they can slow down the startup process, impact performance, and waste system resources (processor and memory) and energy as they run in the background.

As a rule of thumb, having too many apps running other than the essentials is never a wise idea. If you notice that your computer is taking longer to start, the system becomes sluggish quickly, or specific apps keep popping up (I’m looking at you, Spotify) as you sign in to your account, Windows 11 provides different methods to disable programs at startup through the Settings app, Task Manager, Startup folder, and Registry.

In this guide, I will teach you how to stop programs from running on startup automatically on Windows 11.

Stop programs from running at startup on Windows 11

To disable startup apps on Windows 11, use these steps:

  1. Open Settings on Windows 11.

  2. Click on Apps.

  3. Click the Startup page.

  4. (Optional) Select the Startup impact option from the “Sort by” setting.

  5. Turn off the toggle switch for each program to stop from running at startup.

    Settings disable startup apps

Once you complete the steps, the apps will no longer run automatically on startup, speeding up the startup process and overall system performance.

It’s important to note that there’s not a specific list of apps you should disable. Instead, you should turn off those apps that can have more impact on performance and disable as many apps as possible.

Stop programs from running at startup from Task Manager on Windows 11

To stop programs from launching automatically at startup from Task Manager, use these steps:

  1. Open Start.

  2. Search from Task Manager and select the top result to open the app.

  3. Click on Startup apps.

  4. Select the app affecting performance.

  5. Click the Disable button.

    Task Manager disable startup apps

  6. Repeat steps 4 and 5 to disable other apps causing startup impact.

After you complete the steps, the programs will stop launching every time the computer starts.

Stop programs from running at startup from Startup folder on Windows 11

To remove apps from the Startup folder to prevent them from starting automatically, use these steps:

  1. Open Start.

  2. Search for Run and click the top result to open the app.

  3. Type the following command and click the OK button:

    shell:startup
  4. Select the shortcut to the app and click the Delete button from the command bar.

    Startup folder delete apps

  5. Repeat step 4 to disable other apps during startup.

Once you complete the steps, the applications will no longer impact the startup experience of Windows 11.

Stop programs from running at startup from Registry on Windows 11

Alternatively, it’s possible to disable startup programs from the Registry by deleting their entries from the “Run” and “StartupApproroved” keys.

Warning: It’s essential to note that modifying the Windows Registry can cause serious problems if not used properly. It’s assumed you know what you’re doing and created a full backup of your system before proceeding.

To disable programs at startup from the Registry on Windows 11, use these steps:

  1. Open Start.

  2. Search for regedit and click the top result to open the Registry.

  3. Navigate to the following path:

    HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Run
  4. Right-click the REG_SZ key for the app and select the Delete option to disable it at startup.

    Run registry delete startup app

  5. Repeat step 5 to disable other apps.

  6. Navigate to the following path:

    HKEY_CURRENT_USER\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Explorer\StartupApproved
  7. Click on the Run key.

  8. Right-click the REG_BINARY key for the app and select the Delete option to disable it at startup.

    StartupApproved Run disable startup app

  9. Repeat step 8 to disable other apps.

  10. Click on StartupFolder.

  11. Right-click the REG_BINARY key for the app and select the Delete option to disable it at startup.

    StartupFolder registry disable startup app

  12. Repeat step 9 to disable other apps.

After you complete the steps, the programs will be disabled at startup, speeding up the startup process of Windows 11.

Modifying in-app settings

If none of these methods work, you may need to disable the option from within the application settings instead of the Windows settings. Since each application differs, you may need to check the developer’s documentation for more specific details.

In addition to startup programs, Windows 11 also includes a feature that restarts apps automatically to restore the last session and help you pick up where you left off quickly. If you don’t want apps restarting automatically, disable the feature with these instructions.

How are you disabling apps on your computer at startup? Let me know in the comments.

Update May 14, 2024: This guide has been updated to ensure accuracy and reflect changes to the process.

About the author

Mauro Huculak is a Windows How-To Expert who started Pureinfotech in 2010 as an independent online publication. He has also been a Windows Central contributor for nearly a decade. Mauro has over 14 years of experience writing comprehensive guides and creating professional videos about Windows and software, including Android and Linux. Before becoming a technology writer, he was an IT administrator for seven years. In total, Mauro has over 20 years of combined experience in technology. Throughout his career, he achieved different professional certifications from Microsoft (MSCA), Cisco (CCNP), VMware (VCP), and CompTIA (A+ and Network+), and he has been recognized as a Microsoft MVP for many years. You can follow him on X (Twitter), YouTube, LinkedIn and About.me. Email him at [email protected].