How to Videos: How To Enable/Disable Startup Programs

How To Enable/Disable Startup Programs

This lesson explains how to enable and disable startup programs. Below you will find a list of non-essential programs that you can disable to make your computer run faster.

After you disable any of the startup programs on your machine, the next time you reboot, the operating system will pop up a dialog box that tells you something has changed in the startup configuration. This is normal behavior, and the operating system is informing you as a precaution. You can simply check the box that says not to show that dialog again and click OK.

Here are the instructions on how to open the System Configuration application to see a list of startup programs:

  • Go to the Start Menu
  • Click the 'Run' selection
  • When the text box appears, type 'msconfig' into it
  • When the System Configuration opens, go to the 'Startup' tab

NOTE: Sometimes in Windows Vista, you will not see a 'Run' selection when you open the Start Menu. If that is the case, just follow these instructions:

  • Go to the Start Menu
  • Type 'msconfig' into the 'Start Search' text box right above the 'Start' button

Non-Essential Programs

The programs listed below are common applications that do not need to be running all the time in the background, and hence do not need to be started when the computer starts. They may all be started manually, and some of them automatically start running when needed. After disabling one of these programs, if you find something that you need is no longer working, just go into the System Configuration, reselect the known program (or all programs if you do not know which one is needed), click 'OK' and restart your computer. Then, if you want, you can go back into the System Configuration and disable one program at a time and restart your computer to see if the problem reappears.

Any startup programs that were created by the maker of your computer or the maker of your graphics card (i.e., Nvidia, GeForce) should probably be left running unless you can specifically tell that they are not needed.

Windows XP:

  • ehtray: It runs Windows Media Center.
  • igfxtray: It allows you to access the Intel Graphics configuration and diagnostic application through the system tray.
  • dvdlauncher: Allows you to play DVDs on insertion. Belongs to the Cyberlink PowerCinema video viewing software.
  • suspm: Belongs to Installshield. Main function is to check for updates for Installshield. Totally non-essential and may actually be a virus.
  • issch: Also belongs to Installshield Update Utility and is totally non-essential and could be a virus.
  • GoogleDesktop: Starts Google Desktop.
  • InstallHelper: Associated with Logitech Webcams.
  • SearchProtection: Belongs to the software Yahoo! Search Protection by Yahoo!.
  • HPWuSchd2: HP software update utility that may also monitor your software usage for marketing.
  • qttask: Automatically launches Quicktime window when a .mov is clicked on in a website. If this is not running, it will start when needed.
  • dsca: Dell's remote-support application. If you're relying on Dell's remote-desktop support, leave it. Otherwise, this can be started manually when needed.
  • Reader_sl: Utility from Adobe Reader to help make pdfs faster to load. Unnecessary to be running all the time, unless you use pdfs a lot.
  • iTunesHelper: This process speeds up iTunes when it starts, and the program also monitors for connected iPod devices.
  • netwaiting: Suspends a dialup internet connection on the modem line while the user uses the line for voice communications. Totally non-essential, unless you still use a modem.
  • msmsgs: Part of MSN Messenger Internet chat.
  • Skype: Part of the Skype telephony application.
  • ctfmon: It activates the Alternative User Input Text Input Processor (TIP) and the Microsoft Office XP Language Bar. Non-essential unless you use these always.
  • DesktopWeather: The Weather Channel application.
  • Digital Line Detect: Part of the BVRP Phone Tools software suite which provides fax, phone book, e-mail and other sevices. Will detect when you plug-in a digital telephone line. If you do not plug in a digital line, you may disable this process.

Windows Vista:

  • Google Desktop: Starts Google Desktop.
  • Java Platform: Starts the Java runtime. This application will start automatically when needed.
  • Adobe Acrobat: Utility from Adobe Reader to help make pdfs faster to load. Unnecessary to be running all the time, unless you use pdfs a lot.
  • Napster: Non-essential.
  • Microsoft Windows Operating System: Starts Windows Welcome Center.
  • Microsoft Windows Operating System: Starts Windows Media Center.
  • BigFix: This application downloads and reads technical support information provided by computer/software makers (published as Fixlet Messages). It can also check your computer for bugs, etc. It is very resource-intensive, so should not be started at computer bootup.