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Five Programs You Should Remove from Windows Startup

Five Programs You Should Remove from Windows Startup
Illustration: Gordon McAlpin

Since we ran our interactive video blog about removing items from your Windows startup to improve boot time, free up resources and generally speed things up, we’ve received many questions about identifying which apps in particular to get rid of.

Here’s some tips for spotting good candidates for removal.

  1. Helper Apps & Toolbar Apps

    tuff like iTunesHelper, Google Toolbar Notifier, and so on simply help the big applications start up a little faster, at the expense of RAM. If you use these applications rarely, and would rather have the resources back now, take them off your startup list.

  2. Manufacturer Apps

    Also known as “bloatware”, manufacturers such as Toshiba load up their machines with apps of dubious usefulness that all launch on startup, clogging up the memory and resources before you’ve even had a chance to use it. Odds are, you won’t need most of them, and if you do, you can launch them by hand. Anything that says TOSHIBA, DELL or COMPAQ (or whoever made your machine) is probably unnecessary.

  3. Duplicate Apps

    If you use more than one antivirus or anti-spyware application routinely, you don’t need both of them actively scanning your PC, as these programs will slow your machine to a crawl and can even conflict with each other. Take one off active scan, and run it by hand when you need it. We suggest keeping Windows Security Essentials on startup for this purpose, but not others.

  4. Apps that Shouldn’t Be There in The First Place

    Sometimes you install an instant messaging or similar app, and it sets itself up to run on startup without asking you. You’d much rather just launch the IM when and where you need it, and not have it take forever to launch on startup. Take it out.

  5. Stuff You No Longer Use

    If you spot something you don’t use at all anymore and have been meaning to uninstall, take the application off your startup list, then, as your very next thing, go into Control Panel and uninstall the application completely. How do you do that? Guess what … we have a video blog for that too!

What Not to Delete

dwm.exe is the desktop windows manager. Leave that alone or Windows will have trouble starting up. winlogon.exe controls your Windows logon information. Leave that one alone also. And taskhost.exe is important for Windows task switching. Anything to do with your mouse or printer should be left alone, as it might prevent you from clicking or printing correctly.

Run Registry Reviver

After messing about with Startup Manager in Registry Reviver, and rebooting, it’s a good idea to run a fresh Registry Reviver scan and check and see if any stray registry entries need cleaning up. This is especially important if you followed step 5 and uninstalled some applications.

Now you’re better educated about what to take off startup and what to leave alone. Enjoy your faster PC!

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