How to close programs running in the background in Windows?

Closing programs in the background on your computer can free up system resources for your other programs. This can solve problems where your system runs slowly or two programs try to use the same device. It can also help you determine if there is a conflict with third-party software running on your system.

Method 1: Temporarily turn off hidden programs (short version).

Right-click the program’s icon in the system tray (next to the clock) and choose Close, Exit, or Disable.

Method 2: Temporarily disable programs running in the background on Windows from Task Manager.

Windows Task Manager can close programs that the system tray cannot.

Warning: If you use the End Process feature to close a program, you will lose any unsaved data in that program. Avoid ending system processes if possible, and be careful when terminating system processes: you can disable necessary system components. You may have to restart your computer to get back to full functionality.

If you are not familiar with the listed procedures, follow these rules:

– Don’t end EXPLORER.EXE or anything with SYSTEM, SYSTRAY, or SERVICE in its username.

If you are unsure of a process, don’t finish.

If you mistake the process being asked, restart your computer, and the system should reactivate.

If you’re still having memory or device issues, try these steps:

1. Press and hold CTRL + ALT + DELETE keys. The   Windows Security window appears.

2. In the Windows Security window, click Task Manager or Start Task Manager. The Windows Task Manager opens.

3. From Windows Task Manager, open the Applications tab. From the Applications tab, highlight each application you want to close and then click End Task.

4. Now, open the Processes tab. For each program, you want to close, highlight it / click it once, and then click End ProcessDo not close System or EXPLORER.EXE.

Not sure which programs are causing the conflict?

1. Click the Windows Start button, and then click Run.
2. Type MSCONFIG, then click OK. The System Configuration Utility window opens.
3. Click the Startup tab.

When you see the list of programs that automatically start when Windows starts, look at the checkboxes next to each program: a check box is meant to start the program, and an empty box means you DO NOT want the program to start with Windows. You can experiment with unchecking some boxes and restarting your computer until you identify the problem.

Method 3: Restart your computer in Selective Startup.

Note: Selective Startup disables third-party security software such as firewalls and antivirus software. You can disconnect your computer from the Internet while performing this test (either turn off the modem or disconnect the network cable) for added protection. Additionally, running during selective startup could cause you to lose your Internet connection. Return your computer to Normal Startup mode will allow you to reconnect to the Internet.

We do not recommend that you let your computer boot selectively because this may render parts of your security software or other applications unavailable. Once you have determined the program is causing the problem, you should check the program’s documentation or help the website see if it can be configured to avoid conflicts.

These steps are only for troubleshooting problems you might have. After determining if a background program is causing the problem, we recommend rerunning the System Configuration Utility and choosing Normal Startup.

Windows 7/8/10:

1. Click the Windows button (formerly the Start button).
2. In the space provided at the bottom, type under “ Run ” then click on the search icon.
3. Select Run in Programs.
4. Type MSCONFIG, then click, OK. The System Configuration Utility window opens.
5. Check the box   Selective Startup.
6. Click OK.
7. Uncheck Load Startup Items.
8. Click Apply, then Close.
9. Restart your computer.

Windows Vista:

1. Click the Windows button (formerly the Start button).
3. Double-click MSCONFIG.EXE.
4. From the General tab, select Selective Startup.
5. Uncheck Load Startup Items.
6. Click Apply, then Close.
7. Reboot your computer.

Windows XP:

1. Click the Windows Start button, and then click Run.
2. Type MSCONFIG, then click OK. The System Configuration Utility window opens.
3. From the General tab, select Selective Startup.
4. Uncheck Load Startup Items.
5. Click Apply, then Close.
6. Restart your computer.