After owning a computer for a certain amount of time, you’ll start to acquire quite a list of programs that feel the need to wedge themselves into your startup folder, which in turn can make your computer’s start time slower.  There are a few ways of stopping programs from running immediately when windows starts up.  This post will cover the simple methods that don’t involve tweaking some powerful settings.

First off, check your system tray, the area near your clock on the bottom right of your screen.  There are several programs that, once they’re installed, put an icon in the system tray so that they can start faster when you need them.  But honestly, how often do you actually open Quicktime?  If you right click the Q icon that Quicktime puts down there and select preferences, then click on the advanced tab, you’ll notice at the bottom there is a box that says Tray Icon.  Make sure that check box is unchecked and hit ok, and that will stop Quicktime from starting every time you boot your computer.

Now what about programs that start but don’t have an obvious icon or setting like this you ask?  Simple, all you need to do is click on the Start bar, go to All Programs, and move your mouse cursor to Startup.  Once you’ve got your mouse there you’ll see a number of programs.  Just move your mouse over the program and right click, then hit delete.  This will remove that program from the star up routine of your computer and you’ll see your desktop a little faster next time you boot up.

A word of caution though, be sure to check what program you are removing before you do.  Certain programs like your anti virus or some peripheral software needs to start when your computer does.  Logitech is one of these programs that need to start when windows does, that way your mouse and keyboard settings are loaded before you use them.  Finding out what program definitely need to run is as simple as asking your local IT guy at work or a tech savvy friend.

After you’ve removed the offending software from your startup folder, it might be a good idea to run a registry cleaner / optimizer to make sure any left over registry entries are cleaned.

Stay tuned for a follow up post that will go more in depth and help you remove startup processes that can cause windows to run slowly during its startup process.

Update: Michael from Pro Blog Design recently informed me of an excellent Windows application known as Autoruns that will allow you to see everything that is set for startup in your computer.  Now although it is advanced, it is easy to use to remove certain start up programs.  I wouldn’t suggest using it to remove registry key entries unless you are an advanced user.  Here is a direct download link for Autoruns.

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