How To Put Programs To Sleep In Windows 10

Windows 10 comes with a feature that allows apps to run in the background even when they are not started. This enables apps to receive information, send notifications, and stay up to date even when they aren’t actively running.

Although useful, these apps can sometimes consume a considerable amount of system resources, including CPU, RAM, Internet bandwidth, and battery power.

Fortunately, you can choose which apps and programs can run in the background. In this article, we discuss ways to put programs to sleep selectively so they can’t wake without being actively used or how to disable the background apps feature altogether.

Put programs to sleep from Windows Settings

  • Open Windows Settings (Windows key + i)
  • Click on Privacy option
    Windows Settings Privacy options
  • In the left hand pane, scroll down until you find “Background Apps
  • You will find two options here:
    • Toggle On/Off “Let apps run in background”. Choose this option if you want to completely disable background apps feature. All apps will go to sleep mode once they are closed.
    • Choose which apps can run in the background. If you choose this option by selecting the specific app, only that app will go to sleep. All other apps will keep consuming data and other resources in the background while keeping themselves up to date.
      Windows Settings Background apps

Disable programs from running from Task Manager/Configuration Manager

Unfortunately, the above mentioned settings only apply to Windows Universal apps (also known as Metro Apps). If you want to prevent traditional Windows programs and executables from running in the background, you will need to follow the steps below:

  • Open the Task Manager (Ctrl + Shift + Esc)
  • Open the Startup tab
  • Select the programs you don’t want to run in the background and then click on the Disable button
    Disable startup items Task Manager

To disable all startup items at once, follow the steps below:

  • Open the Microsoft Configuration Manager by going to Run –> msconfig
  • In General tab, select “Selective startup” and uncheck “Load startup items
    Disable all Startup items msconfig

This will make your system faster. The apps and programs will not consume any system resources until you start them. This may slightly increase the startup time of each application but will also increase system performance.

The Verdict

I usually keep selective background apps running as they are very useful in providing timely information and updates. For example, my currently enabled background apps include Mail and Calendar, Microsoft Store, Microsoft To Do, OneNote for Windows 10, Skype and Windows Security.

What apps do you prefer running in the background?

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Usman Khurshid
Usman Khurshid is a seasoned IT Pro with over 15 years of experience in the IT industry. He has experience in everything from IT support, helpdesk, sysadmin, network admin, and cloud computing. He is also certified in Microsoft Technologies (MCTS and MCSA) and also Cisco Certified Professional in Routing and Switching. Reach him at Twitter @usmank11

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