Find Start-Up Programs for Your Account in Windows

Like many people, you may have configured certain programs to automatically start when you log in to Windows. These start-up items appear on the aptly named Startup menu, found on the All Programs menu.

Many programs automatically put items on the Startup menu for you. You can also copy and paste the items yourself. Be careful to note that the files can be found in two locations. Follow these steps to train your brain:

  1. Right-click the Start button.

  2. Open the Programs folder.

  3. Open the Startup folder.

    Behold the start-up items specific to your account. Well, yes, the folder might be empty. That’s because most users don’t know any better and they tend to install programs for everyone. That’s the “default,” actually.

  4. Close the Startup folder window.

    Now you can find where everyone’s start-up programs are located.

  5. Activate the Open All Users window.

    • In Windows 7 and Windows Vista, pop up the Start menu, right-click the All Programs item, and choose Open All Users.

    • In Windows XP, right-click the Start button and choose the Open All Users command.

  6. Open the Programs folder.

  7. Open the Startup folder.

    Aye, there’s the meat! Shortcut icons in the Startup folder window represent programs automatically started by your computer.

    To disable a program, continue with Step 9; otherwise, you’re done, so you can close the Startup window.

  8. Select icons for the programs you no longer want started.

    Hold down the Ctrl key while clicking multiple icons to select each one.

    Rather than deleting the icons, copy them into a NotStartUp folder.

  9. Press Ctrl+X to cut the icons.

  10. Press the Backspace key to return to the main Programs folder.

  11. If necessary, create a new folder and name it NotStartUp.

    Here are the steps necessary to create that folder, in case you’re rusty in your Windows folder management knowledge:

    1. Click the New Folder button on the toolbar, or choose Organize→New Folder or File→New→Folder.

    2. In Windows Vista, click the Continue button, and then type the administrator’s password or click Continue to give yourself permission to create the new folder.

    3. Type the name NotStartUp for the new folder and then press Enter.

    4. Again, click the Continue button in Windows Vista and blah-blah-blah to continue.

  12. Open the NotStartUp folder.

  13. Press Ctrl+V to paste in the icons you cut in Step 10.

    You effectively moved the icons from the Startup folder, where they start programs every time you log in, to the NotStartUp folder, where they don’t start them every time you log in.

    Yes, in Windows Vista, you need to click the Continue button and grant yourself administrative powers to proceed with the pasting operation.

  14. Close the window.

My reasoning behind creating the NotStartUp folder is that it’s good to keep a copy of those files that once lived inside the Startup folder. That way, if you want to restore them at a later date, it’s merely a matter of cutting and pasting them from the NotStartUp folder back into the Startup folder.

  • You can also create a NotStartUp folder for your own account. Create the new folder in the Programs folder you open by following Steps 1 through 4.

  • Like other items on the All Programs menu, the items on the Startup menu are all shortcuts to files dwelling elsewhere on your PC’s storage system.

  • The reasons for all the permissions and Continue buttons in Windows Vista is that by modifying the All Users Startup folder, you’re changing things for other users on the computer. Because evil software might try that trick, Windows needs your confirmation in order to proceed.

  • Watch Video 221 for an onscreen walk-through of finding start-up programs.

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