Windows 7 Startup Programs: Speed Up Your Computer with These Tips

windows 7 startup programsEvery time you install a program on your Windows 7 computer, you run the risk of slowing it down just a tiny bit more. With the first few programs, you probably won’t even notice. However, once you pile on the programs, your computer’s performance degrades. Most programs install startup applications on your computer without you knowing, and these programs slow down the startup function for your computer. If you wait too long for your computer to boot, here is a rundown on Windows 7 startup programs and how you can manage them.

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Windows 7 Startup Programs in the Start Menu

You might not know, but there is a “Startup” folder in the Windows Start menu list of programs. You might not know it’s there, because it’s rarely used by anyone who wants to start an application. It’s also an older style of programming to have the startup folder used as a way to have programs start when you boot the computer. However, you will probably still find programs listed in the startup folder.

Click the Windows 7 Start button and click “All Programs.” Scroll down to the “Startup” folder. This folder probably has several shortcuts. Notice it’s “shortcuts” and not actual programs. This means that if you delete these shortcuts, the programs remain. However, if you delete the shortcuts, you stop those programs from booting when you start the computer. You can simply right-click a shortcut and click “Delete.”

If you want to delete the program, you must go to the Control Panel’s “Programs” section and delete it through this window. When you uninstall a program from the Control Panel, you eliminate both the program and the shortcut located in the Startup folder.

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Windows 7 MSConfig Program

Windows 7 comes with a small utility that helps you deal with startup programs. Having shortcuts in the startup folder is not the only place a programmer can set a startup program. The more popular place to create a startup directive is in the Windows registry. The Windows registry holds all of your computer’s settings and configurations including software and hardware drivers. You could edit the Windows registry, but one wrong move and you can render your computer broken. The only way to fix the registry if you don’t have a backup is by installing the Windows operating system again.

Instead of messing with the Windows registry, you can use the MSConfig program. You get to this program using the Windows Start button. Click the Windows 7 Start button and type “msconfig” in the text box. Press “Enter” to open the utility.

Click the “Startup” tab. This is a list of all the programs set to start when you boot your computer. For the most part, you don’t need any of them, but you might want to keep some of them for your own convenience.

You’ll notice that there are check boxes next to some and others won’t have a check mark. This is because you can enable and disable startup programs when you need them.  It also means that if you decide you need a program after you’ve disabled it, you can go back and re-enable it after you reboot.

Take a look at each program in the list. You might recognize some and not others. For instance, if you have iTunes installed, you’ll see an Apple iTunes section. You need this if you connect your iPod or iPhone to you computer and want to sync with iTunes. If you don’t have these devices, you can probably disable the iTunes startup program. Some hardware devices install startup software for configurations, but you rarely use or need them. You can disable them from startup and still open the configuration software from the Windows Start menu.

Uncheck all of the programs you don’t need, which is probably a majority of them. After you remove the check box, click the “Apply” button. Windows 7 warns you that you need to reboot for the changes to take effect. You’ll need to reboot to remove the startup programs from running on your computer. Of course, this is only necessary if you don’t have folders and files open that you’re working on. However, the next time you reboot the computer, these programs won’t start.

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Removing these startup programs will speed up your boot time, but it will also free up memory resources. This means that not only will your computer boot faster, but you might also see a difference in the performance of your computer while you’re working. Startup programs start to aggregate to a huge number, and all of these programs eat away at your free memory. Too many of them and you will slow down your computer as you try to work, and they will interfere with your normal applications. When your computer does not have enough free memory resources, it begins writing and reading to the hard drive. This slows down applications and your computer, and it requires you to install more memory on your computer.

You don’t need to remove all of the startup programs, but removing a majority of them will speed up your computer during boot time and while you work. Even if you think your computer runs fine, you should check out the programs that run during startup. While you might have antivirus running, you could still possibly have adware or spyware that runs in the background using the Windows registry startup folder. Take some time to review your Windows 7 MSConfig startup programs, remove them, and you can speed up your computer instead of waiting several minutes for your computer to boot to the desktop.