Why does Excel Open on Startup (and How to Stop it)

If you are using MS Excel on a Windows 10 Operating system, you might have come across this problem of your computer automatically starting MS Excel at startup.

This is great if you need to use Excel on a daily basis, as it actually helps save time in navigating to the application through your Start Menu.

However, you might not necessarily like that, since loading too many applications together at a startup often slows down the startup process and may sometimes even make your system unstable.

To solve this problem, the first step is to identify the cause of the problem.

There may be different reasons for Excel to open when you start your computer.

Let’s look at some of the plausible reasons and how you can reverse each of these.

Possible Reasons for Excel Opening at Startup

Let’s look at some possible reasons why your Excel application automatically starts when you open the operating system.

Microsoft may have enabled it by default

Windows 10 comes with a special feature that restores apps that were running in the previous session automatically. This usually includes any of the MS Office applications.

So, if you frequently use MS Word, Excel or any other application, Windows usually tries to open it for you when you sign-in at startup.

This feature had been added for the user’s convenience since it helps them quickly pick up where they left off.

This may be one of the reasons for Windows automatically running Excel at startup.

Excel might not have been shut off properly in the previous Windows session

You might have turned off MS Excel, but it might not have shut off properly.

If you check the Task Manager (under Details), you may find MS Excel still running in the background.

As a result, MS Excel might be auto-launching on your subsequent login to Windows.

Usually, this problem is solved by forcing MS Excel to end (via Task Manager).

Also read: Excel Not Responding – 10 Ways To Fix It!

There might be an application or service opening it

The issue might be from a startup application or service which is opening Excel at startup.

You can usually find if this is the case by checking which programs are listed under the Startup tab in your Task Manager.

To open the Task Manager, use the keyboard shortcut Control + Shift + Escape (hold the Control and the Shift key and press the Escape key)

It may have been previously set up by someone on Excel

Excel also allows you to open certain files automatically at startup.

This feature was added for convenience, so if there are some Excel files that you need to use on a daily basis, you can provide settings that open those files automatically at startup to save you the trouble.

If your computer is used by more than one user, then this might have been set up by someone else without your knowledge.

Also read: VBA Open Execl Files

How to Stop Excel from Opening at Startup

Now let’s try to approach the problem step by step by going through one issue at a time.

If it had been enabled by default

  1. Click on the Windows icon
  2. Go to Settings
  3. From the Settings window, click on the Accounts option
  4. From the Sidebar menu, click on Sign-in options.
  5. Under “Privacy,” turn off the toggle switch that says “Use my sign-in info to automatically finish setting up my device after an update or restart”.

If it was due to Excel not being shut off properly during the previous Windows session:

Check if you have Excel running in the background.

For this go to the Task Manager either by right-clicking on your taskbar and selecting Task Manager from the popup menu, or pressing Ctrl + Shift + Esc on your keyboard.

Select the ‘Details’ tab and check if an Excel task or process is running.

If you do find an Excel task running, just select the name of the process and select the End Task button to force Excel to end. This will ensure that Excel does not automatically open at your next Windows startup.

If there is an application or service causing it to open:

If you are sure about which program is causing Excel to run at startup, you can select the program and disable it directly from the Task Manager. However, if you are not so sure, you can do the following:

  1. Press the Windows Key + R on your keyboard or open the Run dialog.
  2. Type ‘msconfig’ and click OK. This will open the System Configuration dialog box.
  3. Under the General tab, select the Selective Startup option and uncheck Load startup items. This will ensure that Windows disables any application from running at startup.
  4. Click Apply and restart your computer.

Please note that this is more of an extreme solution as it is going to disable all the applications that run at startup.

Also read: Excel Crashes When Opening File – Reasons + Fix!

If it had been previously set up by someone to open certain Excel files at startup

  1. From the File menu, select Options.
  2. Select the ‘Advanced’ Category on the left of the Options box.
  3. Scroll all the way to the bottom. Under the ‘General’ category, check if there are any paths in the input box next to “At startup, open all files in:” If there is a path, this is probably the folder that had been selected by someone else to open at startup.
  4. Select this path and press the backspace key on your keyboard to remove it.
  5. Click OK.


We discussed in this article different reasons that may cause Excel to open automatically at startup and we followed up by different techniques to stop it.

The main idea is to try to find out exactly what is causing the problem and then apply the appropriate solution to it.

If none of the above techniques helped solve the problem, there might be some other underlying cause and you might need to reinstall Windows if the issue is bothering you too much.

We hope you liked this article and found it helpful. Windows and MS Office are continually introducing updates, so if you have any suggestions or information about any Windows updates that might make it easier to solve this issue, then do let us know in the comments.

Other Excel tutorials you may find useful:

I am a huge fan of Microsoft Excel and love sharing my knowledge through articles and tutorials. I work as a business analyst and use Microsoft Excel extensively in my daily tasks. My aim is to help you unleash the full potential of Excel and become a data-slaying wizard yourself.

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