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Is your system booting slowly? Here’s how to flush out clogged startup apps

Is starting your computer way more of a hassle than it should be? Do you find yourself waiting around for apps to load and connections to finish before you can even start? That kind of waiting is never fun — but we know how to make it better. Slow login times can be caused by startup apps, those apps that are set (either manually or automatically) to open when you turn on your computer.

Some login apps are unnecessary, and some are just broken items from past apps that really should be removed anyway. In other words, you can get rid of them and improve startup times without sacrificing anything. So let’s talk about how to do it for Windows and MacOS!

Managing startup apps in Windows 10

Windows 10 gives you plenty of control over what software launches when you start up, and even helps you identify what apps may be slowing down your computer. Here’s how to cut back on some of those apps and make a difference.

Step 1: Launch the task manager. You can find the task manager by clicking on the Windows button and looking for it in the list, or searching for it in the nearby search bar.

Task Manager

Step 2: The task manager will only show the current programs you have open. Get it to reveal more information by selecting at More details the bottom of the window. This opens a larger window with a much longer list of apps and various tabs. Don’t get overwhelmed! Look at the tab options and go to the one that says “Start up.”

Step 3: The Start up tab shows you all the apps that are enabled to auto-start when you login. You’ll notice that all active apps say “Enabled” in the status section. That’s the part you want to change. Look through the list and find the apps that you don’t need to automatically launch — this varies, but consider your tasks and what’s essential. You probably want OneDrive to launch at work, your Nvidia graphics card to launch on a gaming rig, and so on. When you find an app you don’t need, right-click (or do a long tap with your finger, etc.) to bring up a menu where the your first option is to Disable the app. There’s also a Disable button at the bottom of the window if you don’t want to right-click.

Startup Impact

Step 4: In the task manager, you’ll see that the last column is called “Start up impact” which is designed to show just how much time it may be taking up. If it says “None” then you probably don’t need to worry about disabling it. If it says “Not measured,” then it’s probably a new app (or you have a new Windows 10 OS), because Windows hasn’t been able to measure its impact yet. Over time, Startup impact can provide useful information on what apps are best to disable. Look for apps that have a “High” impact, and odd-named apps that don’t have anything listed under Publisher. These are prime targets.

Step 5: If you aren’t sure what an app does, it’s a smart idea to leave it. But if you’re desperate to improve login speeds and you end up disabling a few apps that you don’t really recognize, your next step should be to shut down your computer and then restart it. Login and complete a few basic tasks, stream some video, and generally try things out. This will help both determine if the startup speed has improved, and see if you accidentally disabled an app that it looks like you need. Even if the app is disabled, it will still stay listed in the task manager so that you can enable it again if necessary.

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