How to Change Startup Programs on Your Computer

This minHour teaches you how to stop programs from automatically starting up when you turn on your computer. You can do this on both Windows and Mac computers.

On Windows

Open Start.

Click the Windows logo in the bottom-left corner of the screen.

Type task manager into Start.

This will search your computer for the Task Manager app.

Click Task Manager.

It’s the computer-shaped icon at the top of the Start window. Doing so will open Task Manager.

  • You can also press to open Task Manager directly.
  • Task Manager may take a few seconds to finish loading.

Click the Startup tab.

This tab is at the top of the Task Manager window.

Select a program.

Click the name of a program that you want to disable.

  • You can see a program’s impact on your computer’s startup speed to the right of the program’s name (e.g., a high-impact program has “High” to the right of its name).

Click Disable.

It’s in the bottom-right corner of the window. Doing so will prevent the program from turning on the next time that you start your computer.

  • If you want to turn back on a disabled program, you can select it and then click Enable in the bottom-right corner instead.

On Mac

Open the Apple Menu.

Click the Apple logo in the top-left corner of the screen. A drop-down menu will appear.

Click System Preferences….

It’s near the top of the drop-down menu. The System Preferences window will open.

Click Users & Groups.

This icon resembles the silhouettes of two people.

Click the Login Items tab.

It’s at the top of the window.

Select an application.

Click on an application that you want to prevent from starting up when you turn on your computer.

Click -.

It’s below the bottom-left corner of the startup program section of the window. Doing so will remove the program from the list, meaning that it will no longer start automatically when you turn on your Mac.

  • If you instead want to add a program to your Mac’s startup list, click + here, then select a program from the resulting list.

Close programs before turning off your Mac.

Your Mac will re-open programs that you recently had open if you don’t close them before turning off your Mac. There are a couple of ways to do this:

  • Apps – Programs found in the Dock or Launchpad that didn’t come from the App Store (e.g., Audacity or Microsoft Word). Click the Apple Menu, click Force Quit, then click an app and click Force Quit.
  • Menu bar programs – These are programs like iCloud that you’ll find in the top-right corner of the screen. Click the program’s icon, then click Quit in the drop-down menu.


  • To temporarily disable startup programs on your Mac, press and hold the ⇧ Shift key before clicking the sign-in arrow, then release the key once your Mac’s Dock loads.
  • Not all programs that automatically start will use your computer’s Startup Programs list as a reference. If you have a program that isn’t listed in the Startup or Login Items section of your computer’s settings, you need to open that program’s settings and disable the startup prompt from there. This will vary from program to program.


  • Disabling a startup program in the middle of its start-up process may cause errors, especially on Windows.

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