Understanding startup processes and disabling themWhat are processes?
In essence, they are programs and applications which have been executed (started) on your computer and are running. Why should I be concerned with what processes are running on my computer?
Each process takes up 'resources' which are processor use (the CPU) and memory use (the RAM). The more processes that are running, the less headroom you'll have for the operations you wish to perform whilst using the computer.
Unfortunately, there could be processes on your computer that are running which you are not using and thus slowing the computer down unnecessarily. These often load on startup and remain running until you turn your computer off. In other words they are giving your computer less headroom to perform as they are constantly using resources even if you’re not using the program.What are startup processes?
Processes can only run when they are requested to start. So if I open my web browser, I would have a process for that web browser running. When I close my web browser the process would stop and therefore no longer run, thus freeing up some resources for other programs to use.
Startup processes are those which are running in the background from the moment the operating system loads up, because that program has told it to do so. Commonly there could be programs running in the background which you are not using. These often appear in the system tray (bottom right of your screen in the taskbar near the clock), such as Nero burning software and MSN messenger.
When I want to use these programs I will open them manually by double clicking the shortcuts on my desktop. Then they will only use resources when I am using those programs and will not when I close the program and stop using them.If I remove a startup process will that remove it entirely so I can never use it?
No, telling the operating system to not run processes at startup does not mean they are disabled or removed altogether. They will still be there on your computer and ready to use when you need. The methods described below will not damage your computer and are 100% reversible.How do I stop the processes I do not need from running on startup?
Create a new folder in my documents called disabled startup programs
Go to start>all programs>startup
If there is any program in that list which you do not want to load at startup you can remove that program by right clicking on the icon and selecting cut, going to your new folder (which you called ‘disabled startup programs’) and pasting it there. This prevents the program from running but doesn’t delete the startup forever, so if you change your mind you can put it back.
For example, I disabled Adobe Reader Speed Launcher because I did not want to it run on startup. Speed launcher allows a faster launch of Adobe Reader when you open pdf files. However, what's actually happening is that you are loading part of that program when Windows starts, which is using precious resources. Personally I'd rather wait a bit longer for a pdf file to open, rather than having this waste of resources all of the time. So unless you open loads of pdf files every time you're on your computer you may wish to disable Adobe Reader Speed Launcher. Adobe Reader will still function 100% if you do decide to do this.
Another example is the Sony Ericsson mobile phone suite. I don't want this running all of the time, I'll open it when I need to use it. I therefore disable this too.What happens if I want to re-enable on startup?
If you decide you want to re-enable the program for startup you can cut the icon from the ‘disabled startup programs’ folder you created and paste back into these locations:
For Windows 2000/XP: C:\Documents and Settings\All Users\Start Menu\Programs\Startup
For Windows Vista: C:\ProgramData\Microsoft\Windows\Start Menu\Programs\StartupA word of warning
If you’re unsure whether you can remove a program from startup then ask first before you delete it, as you don’t want to remove something you shouldn’t. Never stop anti virus or firewall software from running on startup, although this probably won't appear in the startup folder as a safety measure.
Things like MSN messenger, mobile phone software, Adobe speed launcher or Nero are things you may wish to disable if you do not use them from startup.Some programs have a ‘run on startup’ option
You may need to open the program and uncheck this option to prevent startup. Windows Live/MSN Messenger is a classic example. Someone told me to use msconfig to disable startup processes, but it's not mentioned here
If you really want to go a bit further with it all there are other ways to do disable startup processes, including msconfig. However, there's more potential to disable something you shouldn't using this method and it may seem a bit more confusing to some other people
This guide is long enough already and there is a decent guide here with some screen shots as well:http://www.pacs-portal.co.uk/startup_index.htmI heard you can turn off other Windows services to save resources?
Yes you can, but it becomes more complicated and often causes more problems than it's worth. That’s from first hand experience. Back to contents