For all of Windows 11’s new features, one annoying trait has been carried over from its predecessor. Each time you download a new app, the developer has the option to make it open every time you turn on your PC or laptop.

That might not be an issue if you always open Chrome or File Explorer anyway, but does every single session need the likes of Spotify or Microsoft Teams immediately? For most people, the answer is a resounding no.

Unfortunately, many apps make automatic launch at startup the default setting. To stop this from happening, you’ll have to manually disable it on an app-by-app basis. However, there are three relatively simple ways to do just that in Windows 11.

How to turn off Windows 11 startup apps in Settings

This is definitely the easiest way to control which apps open at startup:

  1. Open Settings
  2. Select ‘Apps’ from the left pane
  3. Within this section, choose ‘Startup’
    Windows 11 disable startup apps
  4. You’ll now see a list of all the apps which can be configured to start when you log in. By default, these are sorted by name, but you can change this to status or startup impact
  5. Just click the toggle next to something you’d like to turn off and the changes will automatically be applied
    Windows 11 disable startup apps

As you might expect, the same process can be used to allow specific apps to run at startup. However, even disabled apps may still start minimised or running in the background. If this is an issue, the following steps will be useful:

  1. Open Settings, then ‘Apps’ once again
  2. This time, click ‘Installed apps’
    Windows 11 disable startup apps
  3. Click the three dots next to an app you don’t want running in the background
  4. If the option is available, choose ‘Advanced options’. If it’s not, this app isn’t capable of running in the background
    Windows 11 disable startup apps
  5. Under ‘Background apps permissions’, you’ll see a drop-down marked ‘Let this app run in background’. Click this, then choose ‘Never’
    Windows 11 disable startup apps

How to turn off Windows 11 startup apps in Task Manager

If you’d rather not go down that route, the Task Manager is also an effective way to disable startup apps. The process here is exactly the same as Windows 10:

  1. Click the search icon next to the Start menu
  2. Type in ‘task manager’ and select the relevant option
  3. This may open showing only the apps you currently have open. If so, click ‘More details’
    Windows 11 disable startup apps
  4. Next, click the tab at the top of the window marked ‘Startup’
  5. You should see a list of all the apps you have installed, with a status of either ‘Enabled’ or ‘Disabled’ next to them. If it’s the former, right-click and choose ‘Disable’
    Windows 11 disable startup apps

How to turn off Windows 11 startup apps in the Start-up folder

The third and final method involves the Start-up folder, found within File Explorer. Some apps automatically place themselves there after being downloaded, instructing Windows 11 to run them each time it boots up. However, these files can be safely deleted without negatively impacting your device:

  1. Click the search icon next to the Start menu
  2. Type ‘run’ and open the relevant result
  3. Enter the command ‘shell:startup’ and click ‘OK’ to open the Start-up folder in File Explorer
    Windows 11 disable startup apps
  4. Select any files you see here, then click the bin icon to delete. If you don't see anything, you'll need to follow one of the other methods instead
  5. Click ‘Yes’ to confirm

For all these methods, your changes will be automatically applied. There’s no need to restart your device, although you may want to check the apps don’t run at startup anymore.

For even more control, it’s also worth checking settings menu for each individual app.

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