How to fix too many background processes in Windows 10

Matthew Adams
by Matthew Adams
Windows & Software Expert
Matthew is a freelancer who has produced a variety of articles on various topics related to technology. His main focus is the Windows OS and all the things surrounding it. He is passionate about... Read more
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  • If you have too many background processes running in Windows 10, your system can slow down considerably.
  • You should think about slimming down the list of Startup programs to improve your system booting time.
  • Terminating unwanted processes is very easy if you use Task Manager's features efficiently.
  • Another important element to consider is to turn off system monitors by accessing your device settings.
too many background processes Windows 10
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Does your Windows 10 Task Manager list contain a large number of background processes? If so, you might need to reduce their number to free up system resources.

Because background processes slow down your PC, closing them will speed up your laptop or desktop considerably.

The impact this process will have on your system depends on the number of applications running in the background.

Background processes are typically Microsoft and third-party software services listed on the Services window. Thus, reducing background processes is more a matter of terminating services.

However, they can also be startup programs and system monitors. As such, there are a few ways in which you can resolve the issue caused by having too many background processes running at the same time.

How to identify and evaluate the processes

It’s recommended not to touch the Windows processes

We recommend not to mess around with the Windows processes unless you know exactly what you’re doing because terminating them can cause system instability.

However, it is important to understand how can you differentiate between a Windows process and an ordinary process.

Follow these simple steps to check the type of process:

  1. Right-click on the taskbar and choose Task Manager.
  2. Click the View button and choose the Group by type option.
  3. Now the tasks listed in the Task Manager will be separated by their type in drop-down lists.

You will be able to find the Windows processes section at the end of the list, so make sure not to modify the state of any tasks from that part.


Which processes consume more resources?

After you open Task Manager, you can sort the processes in the descending order of their memory or CPU usage just by clicking on the corresponding column on top.

Moreover, as you can see in the screenshot above, usage is color-coded and you can tell that the process on top is consuming a lot of memory.

How can I reduce background processes in Windows 10?

  1. Clean up the Windows 10’s Startup
  2. Terminate background processes using Task Manager
  3. Remove Third-Party Software Services From the Windows Startup
  4. Turn off background processes from Settings
  5. Turn Off System Monitors

1. Clean up Windows 10’s Startup

  1. Press the Windows key + X and select Task Manager to open the Processes tab.
  2. Select the Start-up tab.
  3. Select any system tray program and press the Disable button to remove it from the Windows startup.

Having fewer applications running by default when your Windows OS starts enables faster booting times, and also improves the overall performance of your system.

You can always open any applications that you need during your usage of Windows 10, and, if you change your mind, you can always add and remove startup apps to Windows 10 at will.

2. Terminate background processes using Task Manager

  1. Start Task Manager by pressing the Windows key + X combination and selecting it from the list.
  2. Inside the Processes tab, select the one you want closed, and click on the End task button from the bottom right.

Note the RAM and CPU percentage figures that highlight the system resource usage for the processes. Stop the third-party software processes that waste the most resources.

However, stick to terminating third-party background services only. Do not tamper with Windows processes that are essential to the OS.

For special situations, we have an article that will help you stop all the processes in Windows 10, so you can consider consulting it if needed.

3. Remove third-party software services from the Windows Startup

3.1 Remove the services individually

  1. Right-click the taskbar, and select Task Manager.
  2. Open the Processes tab.
  3. Expand a service you need to disable by clicking the drop-down arrow.
  4. Right-click the service and select Open Services.
  5. Double-click the service you need to disable on the Services window to open its properties window.
  6. Select Disabled from the Startup type drop-down menu.
  7. Select the Apply option, and click OK to close the window.

Many of the third-party software services listed under background services might be a part of the Windows startup. As such, the End task button will only temporarily stop those services until you restart Windows.

To completely turn them off, simply follow the steps described in the first solution of this guide.

3.2 Remove the non-system services in bulk

  1. Press the Windows key + R hotkey to start the Run app.
  2. Enter msconfig in and click OK or press Enter.
  3. Select the Services tab.
  4. Click the Hide all Microsoft services check box.
  5. Press the Disable all button, then click the Apply and OK buttons.
  6. Press the Restart button on the dialog box that opens.

The System Configuration utility provides a quick way to disable all non-Microsoft services in Windows, which will certainly reduce the background processes listed in Task Manager.

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Also note that the General tab includes a Load startup items option, which gives you a quick way to remove all the third-party programs from the startup.

Click the Selective startup option, and then deselect the Load startup items check box.

And if you can’t open System Configuration, we have a helpful article that will help you figure out what to do if you have insufficient privileges to start it.

4. Turn off background processes from Settings

  1. Click the Start button and select Settings.
  2. Select the Privacy option.
  3. Click on Background apps from the left pane.
  4. Now you can either toggle off the Let apps run in the background option from the top or you can toggle off the individual apps below.

These apps don’t consume a significant amount of resources and that’s why we left them at the bottom but they still are background processes that you can disable.

5. Turn off system monitors

Task Manager also lists third-party system monitors as background processes. Some third-party utilities include system monitors that check system resources and hard disk usage.

Those system monitors run independently of the primary software as a background process, and they usually provide numerous system tray notifications.

Even though system monitors start during the Windows startup, you can’t always disable them with Task Manager.

Thus, the only way to ensure that some system monitors don’t start with Windows is to configure the options for them included within their utility software.

So, if you see a system monitor listed in Task Manager’s background processes, search for an option in the software’s settings that will disable it.

How to prevent getting too many processes in the long run

Don’t open too many programs

Even if you’re not using a program this instant, that doesn’t mean that they are not running. Maybe you opened a program 10 minutes ago that you forgot about.

Try to see a list of programs you are running right now by pressing the Alt + Tab combination. You can use it not only to switch between them but also to identify them quickly and close them.

Don’t allow programs to run in the background

After you run and then close a program, at its first use, the software will ask you if you allow it to run in the background.

To modify these settings, simply follow these steps:

  1. Press Win Key + X and choose Settings.
  2. Choose Privacy.
  3. Scroll down in the left side list and click on Background apps.
  4. Activate the Let apps run in the background toggle.
  5. Choose which of the apps on your PC will be allowed to do so.

Both the general option and the activation for all specific applications can be easily changed again at any time by following the same steps and toggling off the options.

Uninstall unwanted programs

Try to clean your system from unwanted programs from time to time. That will get rid of their background processes too, but most of all, it will lighten up your system.

Simply follow these steps to achieve this:

  1. Press Win Key + S, and type Remove.
  2. Choose the Add or remove programs entry.
  3. Select the app you want to uninstall, and choose Uninstall.

So, you can fix an excess of background processes primarily by removing third-party programs and their services from the Windows startup with the Task Manager and System Configuration utilities.

That will free up more system resources for desktop software on your taskbar and speed up Windows. If you want to take the customization to the next level, you can also find out how to improve system performance in Windows 10.

In our view, the most efficient way of dealing with this issue is a combination of deactivating any startup programs that you don’t need, and also uninstalling any apps you don’t use anymore.

This ensures that your system will only load the most crucial elements when it boots up and that no amount of memory is occupied with unnecessary software and applications.

If you have any other questions or suggestions, feel free to leave them in the comments section below.

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Frequently Asked Questions

  • The best way to allow many apps to run simultaneously without any issues is to have high amounts of RAM and a powerful CPU that can handle the constant extra load.

  • In short, your PC will slow down severely, since all the available memory and processing power needs to be divided between the processes. You can use dedicated software to monitor CPU activity and better manage your background processes.

  • Yes. Every single operation, big or small, currently running on your PC will take up a certain percentage of the available memory. Here’s an article on what to do if you have too many background processes running.

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