How to turn off startup tasks in Windows 11

Is your computer taking too long to boot and feeling slow? You can turn off startup tasks in Windows 11 to help your PC run a bit faster.

Screenshot of Windows 11 Task Manager open on the desktop showing startup apps

We’re all pretty familiar with the experience of seeing our amazing laptops and computers get slower and slower as time goes on, and there are a few reasons for it. Simply having more programs installed and more files stored can impact performance, but a major factor in making your PC feel slower are startup tasks. Thankfully, you can turn off startup tasks in Windows 11 to get back some of that performance.

What are startup tasks and why turn them off?

Many programs that are included out of the box in Windows 11 are set to run every time the computer starts, and as you install more programs, many of them also try to run when the computer starts. There are various reasons for this. Some programs may start just to be able to check for updates, while others can provide important functionality, such as enabling audio or keyboard hotkeys. Some apps, like browsers, can also have startup tasks, so they launch faster when you actually open them.

However, there’s a good chance you don’t need them all running on your PC at once. You might install some apps to use with a specific device at specific times, while others just might not have any big benefits by starting with the system.

It’s important to be able to tell which apps aren’t essential to you so you can turn them off without breaking the functionality you rely on. Thankfully, disabling startup tasks is an easily reversible process, so even if you do run into any problems, you can always get back to a normal state.

How to turn off startup tasks with Task Manager

There are two primary ways to turn off startup tasks in Windows 11, but the most easily accessible one is arguably the Task Manager. This is already where you can manage running tasks and processes, so it’s the most logical place to find this kind of option.

  1. Right-click the taskbar on your PC and choose Task Manager.
  2. Choose Startup apps from the menu on the left side. It’s the icon that looks like a meter.
    Screenshot of Windows 11 Task Manager with the Startup apps button highlighted
    You can show the labels for the icons by clicking the three-line icon near the top left.

  3. The list shows all your startup tasks, whether they’re enabled, and how much of an impact they have on the startup time of your PC. Some apps may not be measured.
  4. Look for startup tasks that may not be useful to you and click one to select it.
  5. Click Disable in the menu bar at the top of the window.
    Screenshot of the Startup apps page in the Windows 11 Task Manager with Microsoft Edge selected and the Disable button highlighted
  6. Repeat the process for any other apps you may want to disable.
  7. Restart the computer to see how much faster it boots and check if any functionality is broken.
  8. You head back to the Task Manager to re-enable startup tasks if something isn’t working the way it used to.

How to disable startup tasks in the Settings app

The other option if you want to disable startup tasks is to use the Settings app. The practical effects are the same with both methods, but if you prefer the Settings UI, here’s how you can do it:

  1. Open the Settings app (you can find it in the Start menu).
  2. Click Apps on the left-side menu.
  3. Choose Startup near the end of the page.
    Screenshot of the Windows 11 Settings app with the Startup button highlighted
  4. Each app will have a toggle next to it indicating whether the startup task is enabled, and a line of text that tells you how much impact that app has on the startup time.
  5. Find an app you want to disable the startup task for and click the toggle to switch it to Off.
    Screenshot of the Startup apps page in the Windows 11 Settings app with Microsoft Edge highlighted and turned off
  6. Repeat this for any apps you want to disable.
  7. Restart the computer to test how fast it boots and if important features are all working.

Final thoughts

That’s all there is to it. Disabling a few startup tasks can greatly improve the performance of your laptop, and it can also prevent you from dealing with a ton of app windows showing up when you start the PC.

If you’re looking for other ways to improve performance on your PC, maybe check out how to uninstall apps on Windows, or how to free up space on your computer. These are other steps that can make a big difference to your experience.