Remove Dead Entries from the Startup Tab in Task Manager

Windows 8 and Windows 10 have a new Task Manager app. It looks completely different compared to Windows 7's Task Manager and has different features. A new feature of the Task Manager app is the ability to manage Startup apps. In this article, we will see how to remove dead entries from the Startup tab of the Task Manager in Windows 10 and Windows 8.


Windows 10's Task Manager has some nice features, like a performance graph and startup impact calculation. It is able to control which apps launch during startup. There is a special tab "Startup" which is designed to manage startup apps.

Tip: You can save your time by creating a special shortcut to open the Startup tab directly of the Task Manager.

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.

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

However, the Task Manager doesn't come with an option to delete an entry. You can disable or enable the app, but can't delete it from the startup list.

The list grows bigger over time and the situation get worse if you uninstall or delete an app but it still remains in the Startup tab of the Task Manager. Fortunately, you can clean up this list.

Remove Dead Entries from the Startup Tab in Task Manager

You can save your time and quickly remove dead entries using the Autoruns app. It is not part of Windows, but is included in Microsoft's SysInternals suite of tools.

Here is what you have to do.

  1. Download Autoruns
  2. Unzip the app and run the autoruns.exe file. If you are running 64-bit Windows 10 or Windows 8, then run the file autoruns64.exe. It looks as follows:
  3. Missing entries are highlighted with the yellow color.Carefully inspect them and delete the ones that you do not need. Just right the entry and select "Delete" from the context menu.

If it is not possible to use Autoruns for you or you are curious where the startup items are stored, you can inspect the following folders and Registry locations.
Registry keys:

HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\Software\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Run
HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\Software\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\RunOnce
HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\Software\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\RunServices
HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\Software\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\RunServicesOnce
HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\Software\Microsoft\Windows NT\CurrentVersion\Winlogon\Userinit

HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Run
HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\RunOnce
HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\RunServices
HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\RunServicesOnce
HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Microsoft\Windows NT\CurrentVersion\Windows 

Folders:

%Appdata%\Microsoft\Windows\Start Menu\Programs\Startup

Tip: You can quickly open the Startup folder. Press Win + R shortcut keys together on the keyboard to open the Run dialog. Type or paste the following in the Run box:

shell:Startup

The text above is a special shell command which makes File Explorer open the Startup folder directly. Shell startup in the run box Windows 10 startup folder opened

The most commonly used Registry keys where apps store their startup entries are HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\Software\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Run and HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Run. You can switch between them quickly to save your time as described here: Switch Between HKCU and HKLM in Registry Editor in Windows 10.

To check their values, do the following.

  1. Open Registry Editor.
  2. Go to the desired Registry key from the list above, for example:
    HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Run

    Tip: See how to jump to the desired registry key with one click.

  3. Check out the values on the right. Delete the values which point to non-existing files.
  4. Repeat the steps above for other keys if required.

The powerful and useful tool, Autoruns is definitely the fastest way to clean up your startup apps and delete invalid entries.

That's it.

4 thoughts on “Remove Dead Entries from the Startup Tab in Task Manager

  1. Gordon Hay

    Ccleaner is also very useful for this using the Tools>Starup option. This section also allows you to enable/disable/delete apps and services that are started by a scheduled task and items in all levels of Windows/File Explorer context menus.

    Reply
  2. Na Yeo

    Are you able to explain what is the difference between the registry keys? Do they perhaps run at different times within the startup processing? Maybe some run before login?

    Reply
  3. Raiden Cunningham

    I may have deleted everything off the menu and when i restarted my pc the monitor doesnt get a signal did i break windows?

    Reply
    1. Sergey Tkachenko Post author

      It is some hardware issue, doesn’t look like a broken operating system.

      Reply

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