How to add or remove startup apps in Windows 10

The more apps you install on your computer, the longer it will take to start up Windows. This is because many apps load at startup and slow down the boot process. The longer that list gets, the slower your OS loads after a restart or shutdown. In this article, we will review some basic ways to manage startup apps in Windows 10 so your OS remains more responsive. This article is also applicable to Windows 8.1 and Windows 8.

How to manage startup apps

To manage startup apps, you need to review all of them so you can turn off the ones you don't want. This can be done via Task Manager in Windows 10. All you need to do is to open the Task Manager app and go to the Startup tab:
Startup Tab
Tip: You open the Startup tab of Task Manager directly in Windows 10 by running the following command:

taskmgr /0 /startup

Press Win + R shortcut keys together on the keyboard and type the command mentioned above in the Run box. See the following article for more details: How to open the Startup tab of Task Manager directly in Windows 8.

On the Startup tab you will see the full list of apps which start with Windows.
Tip: You might be curious how Task Manager calculates the "Startup Impact" of Apps.

Using the Startup tab of Task Manager, you can easily prevent an app from starting with your OS. It is very easy - just right click the desired app and pick "Disable" from the context menu.
disable startup software windows 10

To enable the disabled app, you just need to right click it again and choose the "Enable" command from the context menu.
enable startup app Windows 10

Now you know how to enable or disable startup apps. Let's see how to add a new app to load at startup or remove an existing one.

How to add or remove startup apps for the current user

Startup items for the current user are stored usually at two locations: the Registry and the special "Startup" folder. The Startup folder is an easier way to manage apps. To add or remove an app from the Startup folder, you need to do the following:

  1. Press Win + R shortcut keys together and type the following into the Run box:
    shell:Startup

    The text above is a special shell command which will open the Startup folder for you directly.
    the startup folder in Windows 10

    The Startup folder is located here:

    C:\Users\Your user name\AppData\Roaming\Microsoft\Windows\Start Menu\Programs\Startup

    Just copy and paste a shortcut in this folder so that the app loads when Windows boots. To remove the application from the Startup folder, delete the appropriate shortcut.
    remove startup apps
    That's it!

    To add or remove startup apps for the current user from the Registry, you need to follow the instructions below:

    1. Open Registry Editor.
    2. Go to the following key:
      HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Run
    3. There you will find startup items for current users which are stored in the Registry:
      registry startup items
      To delete an item, right click it and choose Delete from the context menu:
      delete registry startup item

      To add a new startup item, you need to create a new string value with any desired name and set its value data to the full path of the application which you want to load at startup:
      add new app to registry

    How to add or remove startup apps for all users

    The method is pretty much the same as adding an app for a single user. The Startup folder and Registry key are different for All users.

    To add or remove startup items for all users via the Startup folder, type the following shell command in the Run dialog:

    shell:Common Startup

    The following folder will be opened:

    C:\ProgramData\Microsoft\Windows\Start Menu\Programs\Startup

    There you can add or remove shortcuts for any app you want. Shortcuts from this folder will start with Windows for all users of your PC.

    As for the All Users Registry key, you will need to go to the following key:

    HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Run

    Here you need to create or delete string values as described above. The value name can be anything but the value data must contain the full path to the executable (.EXE) of the app that you wish to run at startup.

    That's it. For advanced management of startup apps, I recommend you to take a look at the excellent SysInternals Autoruns tool:
    autoruns
    The Autoruns app is the most comprehensive startup management app and covers all locations. It not only allows you to manage Startup apps but also many other objects including shell extensions which load with the Explorer shell, Scheduled tasks, system services and other system components.

19 thoughts on “How to add or remove startup apps in Windows 10

  1. matt thorns

    Still does not work for a particular EXE of mine with no reason as to why.
    added exe to start folder restarted did not start up. restart – Failed
    Made sure it was enabled in task manager startup restart – Failed
    Made a scheduled task to run the file made sure it was active and valid restart – Failed
    Put a txt file in the startup folder – restart successful with txt but not my exe
    Made sure the exe was set to compatibility mode windows 7 and run as admin, also disabled allert – restart – Failed

    I think certain EXE files windows 10 refuses to allow them to run at startup, however if I simply double click the exe it runs without issues. Getting pretty sick of waking up at 3AM to start the file everyday. Any ideas?

    I might try to get a bat file to run at startup just to open the EXE,

    Well-loved. Like or Dislike: Thumb up 8 Thumb down 1

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    1. dasung ahn

      hey how are you doing?
      i have a solution for you

      Open Registry Editor( win + r then regedit)
      go to
      HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Policies\System
      then change this
      EnableLUA=1
      to
      EnableLUA=0
      this allows your starup

      Well-loved. Like or Dislike: Thumb up 14 Thumb down 2

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      1. Hugh Jass Koda

        Thanks a lot! This fixed my startup problem. Very much appreciated!

        Well-loved. Like or Dislike: Thumb up 4 Thumb down 0

        Reply
    2. Lionel Mandrake

      Programs in startup will not launch if you have them set to run as Administrator and you have UAC turned on.

      Well-loved. Like or Dislike: Thumb up 5 Thumb down 1

      Reply
  2. MDJ

    How to open Details tab directly?

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 1

    Reply
    1. Sergey Tkachenko Post author

      there is no switch for that tab

      Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 0

      Reply
  3. Gray

    Thanks the start up folder method worked for me.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 0

    Reply
  4. Andy M

    If I turn off UAC, then my app runs at startup, but the Calculator refuses to run with UAC off. How do I solve that issue?

    How do I get my app to run at startup with UAC turned on?

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

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    1. Sergey Tkachenko Post author

      Try to apply the following tweak and reboot your OS:
      Windows Registry Editor Version 5.00

      [HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Policies\System]
      "ValidateAdminCodeSignatures"=dword:00000001

      Or set UAC to the lowest level available.

      Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 0

      Reply
  5. Chris

    Funny how the startup shortcuts are still in “Start Menu\Programs\Startup” even though there is no “Programs” in the start menu anymore… lazy!

    Anyway, thanks for that tip :)

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

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  6. Steven

    Wouldn’t it be easier just to add a shortcut to the VHD file to the Startup Folder? I think the Startup Folder has existed since Windows 98. It’s still there in Win 10, usually at:

    c:\users\[username]\AppData\Roaming\Microsoft\Windows\Start Menu\Programs\Start-up\

    Instead of all the steps above, I used 3.

    1. Right-click on your VHD or VHDX file and choose Copy
    2. Open the Start-up folder, listed above.
    3. Right-click and choose Paste shortcut.

    When I reboot, my VHD file mounts.

    Did I miss anything?

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 1

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    1. Sam

      Not sure you missed anything, apart from the op’s question – what have VHD (Virtual Hard Disk) files to do with this thread? Did I miss something?

      Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

      Reply
  7. Najaf Haider

    Thank you so much for this help

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

    Reply
  8. Sam

    Muchas Gracias – so all of Windows 10’s changes are purely cosmetic, why I am not surprised. Seems Microsoft is just layering on top of existing technologies and code, new my hairy hole. Thank goodness there are people out there who know this and keep reminding us. Seems 10 is just another reason to learn PowerShell (it’s about time anyhoo). One again, thanks for the input and especially the registry code (the proof that 10 is just another GUI over the same old broken code, boo hoo).

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 1

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  9. gggirlgeek

    Turn off UAC to create startup items, or….

    Honestly, what I do to get around a lot of Win10/8 annoyances like this is boot into another operating system like Win7 or a system rescue OS like Hiren’s boot CD. You can then add all the items you want to \ProgramData\Microsoft\Windows\Start Menu\Programs\Startup. Just make sure it’s the right drive letter (partition).

    That is where the Start Menu and Startup folders are for All users.

    Even easier, use “WhatInStartup” by Nirsoft to create a new startup entry — as type “Startup Folder->Common”. Last resort I use startup type “Machine Run (Wow64)”

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

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    1. Halvtor Krible

      To get into the startupfolder for Win8, 10 or 7 easily:

      Start (rightclick the Windows flag) –> Run (or WinKey + R)
      Write:
      shell:startup
      or
      shell:common startup

      shell:startup – Users startupfolder
      shell:common startup – All users startupfolder.

      Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 0

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  10. Riddhima

    Can anyone help me, please? There is no disable button in my computer when i go to task manager. There is end task and create dump file but no disable button.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

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    1. qwerty

      ‘Start-Up’ tab mate.. 4th across at the top

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      Reply
  11. Q

    Wow! [Much sarcasm here]
    And all of this dribble is how you add stuff to start folder in Windows 8 , 10 and Server 2012.
    And microsoft call this progress?

    I much liked the old 2-second drag and drop technique used in Win 95, 98, 2000, NT and XP.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 0

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