Edit Startup Programs in Windows 7 and Speed Up Your Computer

ubuntuvswindows7As you continue to install programs on your Windows 7 computer, these programs sometimes add small startup programs that start each time you start your computer. One or two programs don’t slow down your computer too much, but when you start to accumulate too many startup programs, it can greatly increase the amount of time it takes for your computer to finish the boot process.

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Where Are the Startup Programs?

Startup programs are located in several places. The easiest place to look for startup programs is the “Startup” folder located in your Windows Program folder. Click the Windows Start button and then click “All Programs.” Scroll to the “Startup” folder.

This folder contains links to the programs that start when you boot your computer. These files that show up in the folder are just links, but these links point to the programs’ executable files. It’s these files you have to delete and not the shortcut links. If you delete the links, the programs won’t start up, but you don’t delete the software. It’s better to delete the software if you plan to get rid of it.

Startup programs are also located in your Windows 7 registry. Click the Windows Start button again, only this time type “regedit” in the text box. Do a search for the text “runonce” and scroll through your search until you find two registry keys: run and runonce. These two registry folders contain programs that start when you boot your computer. You can delete programs in the Windows 7 registry in this folder, but you should be careful what programs and changes you make to the registry. The Windows 7 registry contains all of your computers settings including hardware drivers. Delete the wrong program and you could have issues with your computer. If you are sure you can delete the program, delete it and reboot your computer.

The Right Way to Delete Programs

Each of the above solutions let you edit the Windows 7 startup programs, but it isn’t the most efficient way to do it, especially if you aren’t sure how the registry and the startup directory works. The best way is to use a program called MS Config. Microsoft incorporated the MS Config program to help you work with startup services on your computer without requiring you to edit the registry directly.

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To open the MS Config software, click the Windows Start button and type “msconfig” in the text box. The MS Config software opens on your computer.

Click the Startup tab. In this window, all of y our startup programs are displayed. If there is a check mark next to the program name, it means that the program starts each time you boot your computer.

Remove a check mark next to each program that you don’t need when you run Windows. With this option, if you choose an important program, you can still reboot and your Windows 7 installation won’t be corrupted. After you uncheck all of the unneeded programs, click the “Apply” button. You must reboot for the changes to take effect.

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With this option, the programs are still installed. As long as you have enough hard drive space, you can leave the programs installed. This is also beneficial when you want to redo some of your changes and add some programs back to your startup directory.

That’s all it takes to remove startup programs.

You have other options with the MS Config program. Another way to speed up your computer is to reduce the number of services that start up when your computer boots. The MS Config window has a “Services” tab. Click the tab and review the list of services shown. Just like the Startup tab, there is a list of services displayed. These services are installed on your computer, and you don’t have to remove them to stop them from booting with your computer.

Uncheck the services you don’t need. For most programs, the services have the same name as the program. Windows 7 won’t let you remove important services, and any services that have dependencies can’t be stopped without the dependency programs being disabled as well.

After you disable each service, you also must reboot again for the changes to take effect.

After you use MS Config, the programs in the startup directory in the start menu are still active. You can either delete the shortcuts in the startup directory or uninstall the programs. You can uninstall those programs in the Windows Control Panel. If you don’t want to uninstall the software, you can delete the shortcuts from the startup directory. While this won’t remove the program, it will stop the programs from starting when you boot your computer.

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After you remove services and startup programs, you will notice that your computer boots much more quickly. Every time you install a program, you can check to see if the program installed any extra startup programs using these tips. You can also identify if you have accidentally installed any malware or adware using these methods. Malware software often installs services that start up when you boot your computer, and you can sometimes find them using the MS Config program.

While removing startup programs won’t account for a computer that needs more hard drive space or memory, it will fix slowness issues due to too many programs starting up when you boot your computer.