change startup programs in windows 7

Last Updated on August 29, 2023

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change startup programs in windows 7

How to Change Startup Programs in Windows 7

Startup programs are saved in a special folder on the hard drive and run automatically when Windows boots up. In Windows 7, the default startup program settings are similar to those of previous versions of Windows. To change startup programs in Windows 7, you may need to access the startup folder, change MSConfig settings, access individual program settings, or delete programs through your computer’s regedit program.

Method1Adding or Removing Files from the Startup Folder

  1. 1Open the Startup folder in Windows’ start menu. Click the Windows “Start” button and select “All Programs.” Scroll down the list to find the startup folder.
    • Right-click the “Startup” folder in the menu and select “Open All Users” to open the folder for all users on the computer.
    • Choose “Explore” to open the folder for the currently logged-in user only.
  2. 2Create a shortcut to the program or file you want to run at startup. Right-click on the file or program’s icon, and select “create shortcut.”
    • The shortcut will be created in the same folder as the original program.
    • Startup items can be either programs or other files. For example, you can set a word processing document to open upon startup.
  3. 3Drag, or cut and paste the shortcut icon into the Startup Folder. The program will now open the next time you start the computer.[1]
    • To cut and paste: Right-click on the shortcut item in the original folder and select “cut” from the menu. Then, in the Startup folder, right click on any white space in the window and select “paste.
    • Or, highlight the shortcut icon and hold down ctrl+x. Then, with the startup folder active, press ctrl+v.

Method2Changing Existing Startup Items via MSConfig

  1. 1Click the Windows “Start” button and type “msconfig” in the search text box. Click on MSConfig in the search results.This opens the System Configuration console.
  2. 2Click the “Startup” tab. This gives you a view of the programs installed as startup options on your computer.
    • Note that not all startup items will be shown.
    • You are not given the option to add startup items to the list inside MSconfig.
    • To add items not on the MSconfig list, use the Startup Folder method.
  3. 3Check boxes of the applications you want to start when you boot the computer. For programs you no longer want to start, clear the check box.
  4. 4Click “Apply.” This will change the changes you made to startup items.
  5. 5Reboot the computer to finalize changes to startup items. A popup window will ask if you want to reboot the computer. Click “Restart” to reboot the computer and save the changes.
    • If you do not restart your computer, your startup programs will revert to their original settings.
    • When you have deselected an item in MSConfig, you will be starting in”Selective startup” mode. This can be viewed under the “general” tab in MSconfig.
    • If you subsequently decide to choose Normal Startup”, all disabled items will be re-enabled.[2]

Method3Using Other Methods to Change Startup Items

  1. 1Change the settings of the program itself to manage its startup options. This differs from program to program, and requires you to search for the startup setting by looking through menus such as “options,” “preferences,” “settings,” or “tools,” system tray icons, and so forth.
    • To find out how to change a particular program’s startup settings, look at the program’s “help” offerings, or do an internet search.
    • For example, Skype, an internet telephony/chat program, can be disabled via Tools → Options → General Settings → deselect “Start Skype when I start Windows”.
    • As another example, Dropbox, a file sharing and storage program, can be disabled by right-clicking the system tray icon (the icon in the windows toolbar near the clock), clicking the gear-shaped icon, then selecting “Preferences…”
  2. 2Use your computer’s registry to delete startup items. Startup items can be deleted manually though your computer’s “regedit” program.
    • See an overview of this process here.
    • Editing your computer’s registry should only be done as a last resort and only if you know exactly what you are doing.[3]

Method4Using Programs and Databases to Identify Startup Items

  1. 1Avoid deleting files and programs indiscriminately. Deleting startup programs without knowing what they are can lead to certain applications not functioning properly.
    • Before making changes that you are unsure of, use System Restore to create a “restore point” that you can revert to if something goes wrong.[4]
    • Many startup items have names that are somewhat descriptive, but others are obscure abbreviations, and have functions that are difficult to identify.
  2. 2Use an online list of programs and processes, or an internet search to identify what each thing does.
    • This may require some time, as it requires you to search for each file or process individually.
    • Some helpful lists include:[5]
      • Process Library: winner of PC Magazine’s Top 100 Classic Websites, 195k+ entries.
      • Pacman’s Portal; an online startup program database containing more than 35K entries
  3. 3Use a program to automatically clean up startup items. There are many free, popular programs that can cleanup startup items for you, including items in the system registry.
    • These programs often contain databases that are updated to include frequently occurring unnecessary items, as well as other tools to improve your computer’s performance.
    • As always, do ample research to find reputable programs to avoid damaging your computer.
    • Some popular programs include:
    • CCleaner
    • Should I remove it?

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