Remove invalid entries from Task Manager Startup tab

Managing startup entries was possible using the System Configuration Utility (msconfig.exe), in Windows 7 and earlier. This functionality is now provided by the Task Manager in Windows 8 and Windows 10.

remove taskmgr startup entries

You can either enable or disable items listed in the Task Manager Startup tab, but no option is provided to delete the obsolete entries. Over time, old entries may accumulate in the Startup tab as and when you uninstall programs that you no longer use.

This post tells you how to remove the leftover entries in the Task Manager Startup tab in Windows 8 & Windows 10.

Remove invalid entries in Task Manager Startup tab

Run keys in the registry

Start the Registry Editor (regedit.exe) and go to the following location:

HKEY_CURRENT_USER\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Run

Each value in the right-pane is an auto-start entry added by programs. Export the key to a REG file first. Then right-click on an unwanted entry and choose Delete.

remove taskmgr startup entries

Repeat the same in the per-system Run key (applies to all users) mentioned below.

Hint: While you’re in the previous registry location, you can right-click on the “Run” key and choose “Go to HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE” option in the right-click menu, which automatically gets you to the following path:

HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Run

32-bit programs on a 64-bit Windows computer use the following “WOW6432Node\…\Run” registry locations. You need to follow the same procedure here, as well:

HKEY_CURRENT_USER\SOFTWARE\WOW6432Node\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Run
HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\WOW6432Node\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Run

Optionally, you may want to cleanup the corresponding entries (for each item removed from the above locations) under the following keys.

HKEY_CURRENT_USER\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Explorer\StartupApproved\Run
HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Explorer\StartupApproved\Run

remove taskmgr startup entries

Startup folders (per-user & common startup)

Open this folder by typing the path in File Explorer address bar:





%ProgramData%\Microsoft\Windows\Start Menu\Programs\Startup

remove taskmgr startup entries

Delete the unwanted shortcuts there.

Repeat the same in the per-user Startup folder (shell:startup) here.

%Appdata%\Microsoft\Windows\Start Menu\Programs\Startup

That should get rid of dead entries in the Task Manager Startup tab.

Using Autoruns to remove invalid Startup entries

Using Task Manager you can manage startup entries only from the above auto-start launch points. However, there are many other launch points in obscure registry locations from where programs can run. And to manage most if not all of them, Autoruns is the tool you need. Autoruns, as they say, is like MSCONFIG on steroids.

Download Autoruns from Microsoft Windows SysInternals site.

Unzip and run the tool elevated (“Run as administrator”). Click the “Logon” tab and remove unwanted entries there. It’s important to make sure you don’t remove Microsoft entries there, especially the “Userinit” entry.

remove taskmgr startup entries

Tip: Autoruns allows you to hide Microsoft and Windows entries via the Options menu so that you don’t accidentally remove legit entries used by the Operating System.

Related posts

What is Startup Impact in Task Manager and How is it Calculated?

Create Shortcut to Open Task Manager Startup Tab Directly

About the author

Ramesh Srinivasan founded Winhelponline.com back in 2005. He is passionate about Microsoft technologies and has a vast experience in the ITeS industry — delivering support for Microsoft's consumer products. He has been a Microsoft MVP [2003 to 2012] who contributes to various Windows support forums.

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