How to turn off background apps in Microsoft Windows 10

How to turn off background apps in Microsoft Windows 10

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Many applications run in the background of Windows 10, but not all of them are necessary.

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Image: FlamingoImages, Getty Images/iStockphoto

Microsoft Windows 10, and all the previous Windows versions that came before it included features, tools, and applications that were nice to have but not absolutely necessary. Applications like Solitaire, Minesweeper, Calculator, etc. all serve an obvious purpose, but if they suddenly disappeared, we could make do without them.

However, when it comes to resources like hard drive storage space, RAM, and CPU cycles, those small applications can also steal precious computational and performance power from applications that are vital and important. This is particularly true if the application is allowed to have a background presence within the Windows 10 operating system.

SEE: Choosing your Windows 7 exit strategy: Four options (Tech Pro Research)

Over the years, TechRepublic has published many articles showing you how to improve performance by turning off background processes and applications in the Windows operating system. Achieving the highest performance in Windows 10 requires similar tweaking.

This how-to tutorial shows you how to turn off unwanted, unused, or unnecessary applications currently allowed to run in the Windows 10 background.

Turn off background apps in Windows 10

A word of warning: Because of the way Windows 10 is installed and constructed, certain applications, for the sake of overall better performance, should be enabled and running in the background at all times. Chose which background applications you would like to turn off carefully and accordingly.

The list of current background applications running in your Windows 10 background right now are listed under a specific section located in the Privacy Settings.

  1. Click or tap the Start button in the lower left-hand corner of the desktop and click the Settings icon in the navigation bar.
  2. Click the link to the Privacy Settings to reveal a screen similar to Figure A.
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Scroll down the left-hand window’s navigation screen and click the Background Apps menu item when it appears. On this screen, shown in Figure B, you will see a list of applications running in some form or fashion in the Windows 10 background.

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Your first choice is to turn off the background running of applications altogether, but that is typically not the best choice. There are likely to be some applications that you want running in the background—Skype, Edge, OneNote, etc. are all useful productivity apps that will work more efficiently if allowed to have a background presence in Windows 10.

The remaining background applications in your list will be unique to your PC, but as you can see in the example, there are bound to be several applications running that you simply have no use for. Candy Crush Soda Saga, for example, is installed by Microsoft as part of one of the Update packages. If you don’t play it, and will never play it, turn off its background permission.

To turn off a background application, click the toggle switch to the off position, as shown in Figure C. Repeat the process for each application you wish to remove from the background of Windows 10.

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When you are satisfied with your choices, just click the exit button to close the Settings screen.

Keep in mind, that the next time Microsoft installs an Update package (the next one is due to be released in May 2019), you will likely have to perform this performance tweak all over again.

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