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How to Delay Startup Programs in Windows

You can use the Task Scheduler to delay startup programs in Windows to reduce startup time and make the system start faster. Here’s how.

Almost every application you install in Windows adds itself to the startup list. The more startup programs there are, the higher the Windows startup time will be.

Most of us have applications that are good to have at system startup but are not essential. For instance, I use a screenshot application every day to take screenshots. As such, having it launch automatically at the system startup is helpful. However, I don’t need it as soon as the system starts. So, delaying the startup program, say by 15 minutes, helps decrease Windows startup time. Put simply; I get the best of both worlds.

You can delay startup programs using the built-in tool called Task Scheduler. Let me show you how.

Before proceeding, if the program is already starting with Windows, remove it from the startup list. This eliminates startup duplication. To disable a startup program, open the Task Manager, go to the Startup tab, select the application entry and click on the Disable button at the bottom of the window.

Once you’ve done that, proceed to the next steps.

Related: Delay OneDrive startup.

The steps below work the same in Windows 10 and 11.

Delay Startup Program with Task Scheduler

There are many ways to delay startup programs in Windows. Most of the solutions force you to use third-party programs. However, you can use the built-in task scheduler application to postpone startup programs. The good thing is that it is straightforward to do.

  1. Open the Start menu.
  2. Search and open “Task Scheduler.”
  3. Click the “Create Task” link on the sidebar.
  4. Type a name in the “Name” field.
  5. Go to the “Trigger” tab.
  6. Press the “New” button.
  7. Choose “At log on” from the first dropdown.
  8. Select the “Delay task for” checkbox.
  9. Choose “15 minutes” from the dropdown.
  10. Click the “Ok” button.
  11. Go to the “Actions” tab.
  12. Press the “New” button.
  13. Select the “Start a program” option.
  14. Click the “Browse” button.
  15. Find and select the application’s exe file.
  16. Press the “Open” button.
  17. Click the “Ok” button.
  18. Go to the “Conditions” tab.
  19. Uncheck the “Start the task only if the computer is on AC power” checkbox.
  20. Press the “Ok” button.
  21. Close Task Scheduler.
  22. With that, the program will start with a delay in Windows.

Steps with more details:

1. Open the “Task Scheduler” from the Start menu or use the taskschd.msc Run (Win + R) command.

Delay startup program step 01

2. In the task scheduler application, click on the “Create Task” option on the right sidebar.

Delay startup program step 02

3. Under the “General” tab, name the task. In my case, I want to open the Snagit application. So, I named the task accordingly.

Delay startup program step 03

4. After naming the task, go to the “Trigger” tab and click the “New” button to create a new trigger. In case you are wondering, a trigger is nothing but an event that does something.

Delay startup program step 04

5. In the “New Trigger” window, select “At Log On” from the first drop-down menu. Next, check the “Delay Task For” checkbox and select “15 minutes” from the drop-down next to it. Click on the “Ok” button. This will ensure that the task will only trigger 15 minutes after logging in. You can select any length of time you want from the drop-down menu.

Delay startup program step 05

6. We need to add the application we want to open at the trigger event. So, go to the “Actions” tab and click on the “New” button.

Delay startup program step 06

7. Select “Start a Program” from the first drop-down menu. Next, click on the “Browse” button under Settings.

Delay startup program step 07

8. Find the application you want to start with a delay, select it, and click on the “Open” button.

Delay startup program step 08

9. You will see the file path added in the Program/Script field. Click the “Ok” button to save changes.

Delay startup program step 09

10. Go to the “Conditions” tab and uncheck the “Start the task only if the computer is on AC power” option. Otherwise, this task won’t run if your laptop/desktop runs on battery power.

11. Click the “Ok” button in the main window to save the task.

Delay startup program step 10

12. To ensure the task runs and opens the application, right-click on the task you created and select the “Run” option. It should start the application immediately.

Delay startup program step 11


You are done. After this, the new scheduled task will delay the program startup by 15 minutes after you log into your system. You can create as many tasks as you want to delay startup programs.

If you want, you can create one shortcut to open multiple programs and then delay start that shortcut to launch multiple programs at once.

I hope this simple Windows how-to guide helped you.

If you are stuck or need some help, send an email, and I will try to help as much as possible.

4 thoughts on “How to Delay Startup Programs in Windows”

  1. Avatar for tim

    horrible – START in (optional) missing – If I copy and paste the path including the executional, does it need to be in quotes as you show?

  2. Avatar for K0media

    Can you please clarify me something?
    Is this done/triggered after the system fully boots up and logs on to it? I mean, is there a way to schedule the task (like a checkbox or something) to be delayed to be started after the system is fully idle? Like 3 or 5 minutes after the system stops booting up and logging on.
    I didn’t see this detail on the article.

    Also, do you recommend some sort of 3rd-party software for this?

    I’m afraid it can’t be done with every program/app since each one have their own arguments for starting up minimized or in system tray, for example.

    Does this have necessarily to be done via Task Scheduler or can I set up via registry key on CurrentVersion\Run hive?

    I’d love to know whether there’s a software that does this or not.

    None of the ones I’ve seen before enables you to delay the software/app to be started after the system is fully idle after the boot load.

    1. Avatar for Bashkarla

      Unfortunately, I don’t think the Task Scheduler supports multiple conditional triggers that depend on each other. However, you can use the recently released Power Automate Desktop app from Microsoft to get the job done. There is definitely a learning curve to use that application, but it provides many options to automate tasks however you want.


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