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, which features a new “Startup” tab which lists all auto-start entries in the system.
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.
Here is an example where the OneDrive entry exists in the Startup tab even after uninstalling the OneDrive client.
When you right-click on it, the Open file location option would be grayed out if the executable doesn’t exist in the specified location.
This post tells you how to remove the leftover or invalid entries in the Task Manager Startup tab in Windows 8 & Windows 10.
Remove invalid entries from Task Manager Startup tab
Method 1: Remove invalid Task Manager Startup entries from the Registry
The auto-start programs listed in the Task Manager Startup tab can load from the registry or from the Startup folders. Follow these steps to clean the invalid entries from the registry as well as from the two Startup folders manually.
Step 1: Cleanup the “Run” keys in the registry
- Create a System Restore Point or take a complete registry backup first.
- Start the Registry Editor (regedit.exe) and go to the following location:
- Each value in the right-pane is an auto-start entry added by programs. Right-click on an unwanted entry in the right pane, and choose Delete.
- Repeat the same in the Run key under
HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINEroot 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_MACHINEoption in the right-click menu, which automatically gets you to the following path:
- 32-bit programs on a 64-bit Windows computer use the following
WOW6432Node\...\Runregistry locations. You need to follow the same procedure here, as well:
- Additionally, cleanup the corresponding entries (for each item removed from the above locations) under the following keys.
(Note: The disabled items in the Task Manager startup tab are stored in the
- Exit the Registry Editor.
Step 2: Cleanup the items in the Startup folders (per-user & common startup)
- Open this folder by typing the path in File Explorer address bar:
- Delete the unwanted shortcuts there.
- Open this folder by typing the path in the File Explorer address bar. This opens the per-user Startup folder (shell:startup)
- Delete the unwanted shortcuts from the above folder.
Method 2: Remove invalid Startup entries in Task Manager using Autoruns
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
- Remove unwanted startup entries there. It’s important to make sure you don’t remove Microsoft entries there, especially the
Tip: Autoruns allows you to hide Microsoft and Windows entries via the Options menu so that you don’t accidentally remove important auto-start programs needed by Windows.
That’s it! Hope you were able to get rid of dead or invalid entries in the Task Manager Startup tab using one of the above two methods!
One small request: If you liked this post, please share this?One "tiny" share from you would seriously help a lot with the growth of this blog. Some great suggestions:
- Pin it!
- Share it to your favorite blog + Facebook, Reddit
- Tweet it!
- 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 he has been a Microsoft Most Valuable Professional (MVP) for 10 consecutive years from 2003 to 2012.