Windows 8 Startup items

Stop programs automatically loading when you boot your Windows 8 PC or laptop and it will launch a lot quicker. Here's how to launch your Windows 8 PC faster by removing unwanted programs from the bootup process.

One of the great advantages of Windows 8 is that is boots up much more quickly than older versions of Windows. Or, at least, it should. But after a while you may find that programs you install muscle their way into your PC, laptop or tablet's boot up process. Skype is a classic culprit (and is, after all a Microsoft program). Spotify too is not shy of such boorish behaviour. And it's likely that your PC's security software will muscle its way into the start of your working day too.

It may be that you want to launch these programs every time you start up your computer, but that should be a choice you make every time. In past versions of Windows you had to use the 'msconfig' command to remove startup items, but Windows 8 makes it easy to remove programs from your PC or laptop's boot process. Here we show you how to stop programs launching when you launch Windows 8.

It's worth doing, too. Before we disabled unwanted Startup programs on our Windows 8 desktop PC, it took 4 minutes and 51 seconds on average to launch to a point where we could open other programs. Once we had made the changes below, startup time dropped to just 1 minute and 43 seconds. That's 3 minutes a day I just saved!

How to stop programs launching when Windows 8 boots

1. Launch Task Manager

As with many great innovations in Windows 8, this one requires you to launch the revamped Task Manager. There are several ways to do this.

Via search: hit the Windows Key and Q, or bring up the Charms bar and click the search icon, then type 'Task Manager' and hit enter. Then select the Task Manager icon that appears (click all the images below to see them at full size)...

Search Task Manager Windows 8

...alternatively, within the desktop you can right-click on the taskbar...

Windows 8 Task Manager

...or hit Windows Key and X to bring up the secret Start Menu, and select Task Manager.

Launch Task Manager with Windows and X

Finally, you can use Ctrl+Alt+Delete and select Task Manager.

Ctrl Alt Del Task Manager

(If you haven't done so already, read our article 'How to use Windows 8 Task Manager'. It is genuinely one of the best things about Windows 8 - Task Manager, not our article - but unless you know what it can do you wouldn't appreciate the upgrade.)

2. Open 'Start-up' tab

Once you have opened Task Manager, it should look like this...

Task Manager in Windows 8

...First you need to select the Start-up tab. This lists all the programs that launch when you boot your Windows 8 PC, laptop or tablet. It also tells you each app's publisher, and the impact on startup performance listed as either 'low', 'high' or 'medium'...

Start up Tab of Windows 8 Task Manager

3. Disable the programs you don't need

Now simply click on the programs you don't want to start with your PC, right-click, and select 'Disable'. Or highlight a program and click 'Disable' in the bottom righthand corner of the window...

Start-up items disabled in Windows 8 Task manager

You can reverse this process at any time by clicking on the item and right-clicking, then selecting 'Enable', or hitting 'Enable' in the bottom righthand corner.

And, er, that's it! You now have a faster PC.

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