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Published on 03.04.08 by Brent Trahan

How-to Use Software Explorer in Windows Defender

This guide shows you how to use Software Explorer in Windows Defender to view detailed information about programs running on your computer and to stop programs from starting when Windows starts.

A big reason why many computers slow down over time is the accumulation of lots of programs that start up when Windows boots up. Each program that starts when Windows boots up takes memory and processing power away from Windows (not to mention adding time to the boot process). Over time this can slow a once fast computer down to a crawl.

This guide shows you how to use Windows Defender’s Software Explorer to view detailed information about every program running on your computer and disable or remove any that are causing a problem.

View Detailed Information about a Program

  1. Click Tools at the top of Windows Defender.
  2. Click Software Explorer under Tools.
  3. Click Show for all users at the bottom of Windows Defender so that you truly see everything that’s running.


  4. Click a program in the left pane to see lots of details about it in the right pane.

If you can’t find the program you’re looking for, try changing the category just above the left pane.

Stop a Program from Starting When Windows Boots

  1. Click the program you want to stop from starting automatically when Windows boots in the left pane.


    Note: Before disabling a program you should check to see if the program starting when Windows boots came with Windows next to Ships with Operating System. If it came with Windows it probably safe to say it should be starting with Windows.

  2. Click Disable under the right pane.

You can also remove an unwanted program by clicking Remove under the right pane.

You can also stop programs from starting using the msconfig command. This is only recommended for technical users.

Still need help? Ask your computer question now.

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