Does your PC take a long time to boot? Do you always have to wait and stare at the screen while all the start-up applications load? Does the long wait bother you and do u wish you could make it faster? MSConfig is a nifty Windows tool which allows you to do exactly this as described below.
MSConfig stands for Microsoft System Configuration Utility (known as System Configuration in Windows Vista) and is a tool which is present in Windows 98, XP, Vista and 7.
How to Access the MSConfig Window
The MSConfig Window can be opened by navigating to the Run menu (Start >Run) and typing “msconfig”. Windows Vista and 7 users can just type in “msconfig” in the Search Box.
A screenshot is shown below
There are 5 tabs in the MSConfig utility and they are discussed in detail below
The General Tab
The screenshot shown below indicates the general tab. It gives you a choice of 3 options
– Normal Startup: Used when the system is behaving as expected.
– Diagnostic Startup: Used to troubleshoot when the system is not behaving as expected.
– Selective Startup: Used in order to selectively load System Services & Startup Items
The Boot Tab
The screenshot shown below indicates the Boot tab.
It lists the various operating systems which have currently been installed and provides the ability to tweak various boot settings etc. Options such as Safe Boot, a Boot Log, the timeout delay (for a list of OS’s) etc can be modified here. Beginners should approach this section with caution, and avoid changing anything unnecessarily.
The Services Tab
The screenshot shown below indicates the Services tab.
The table lists the various services which have been installed currently and denotes the status of each service (Running, Stopped etc.) Select any service and click on Enable or Disable as appropriate. The “Hide all Microsoft services” checkbox can be used to prevent tampering with system services unnecessarily. This tab can be used to prevent unnecessary services from running in the background and consuming critical memory resources.
The Startup Tab
The screenshot shown below indicates the Startup tab.
This tab indicates the various applications which have been configured to load at start-up. This primarily includes applications which run in the System Tray and in the background. Certain common applications are the Winamp Agent, WinZip, QuickTime, Yahoo/Gtalk/MSN Messengers, Windows Sidebar, Antivirus/Spyware Scanners etc. One can enable or disable applications from loading at start-up as required.
The Tools Tab
The screenshot shown below indicates the Tools tab.
This can be used as a launch-pad to launch various tools within Windows such as System Information, Programs, System Restore etc.
Step-By-Step Process to Reduce Bootup Time
Warning: This should only be attempted by a professional. If you have any concerns, contact you resident guru before you begin! Worldstart will not be held liable for any damage done to your PC from these next steps.
– Identify list of services which need to run necessarily at start-up
– Identify list of start-up applications which are required. Keep this to as small a number as possible. [Only the essentials should be retained]
– Open MSConfig from Run menu
– Click on the Services Tab and Disable all the services which are not required. Ensure that the “Hide all Microsoft Services” checkbox is ticked as a safety measure.
– Click on the Start-up Tab and Disable all the applications which are not required to be loaded at start-up.
– Click on OK.
– When prompted to restart the machine, close all applications and restart Windows.
– The start-up time should be reduced. The magnitude of the reduction depends upon the number of start-up applications and the services which have been disabled and the relative load of each of these upon the system.
– In case any of the disabled services/applications are required at start-up, run MSConfig again, make the necessary changes and restart the system again.
– As a safety precaution, make a note of the services and applications being disabled so that it helps you troubleshoot in the case of an error.
– Periodically monitor the number of start-up applications and services to ensure that memory is not being blocked by unnecessary applications.
Advantages of using MSConfig
– MSConfig offers a simpler graphical interface to make changes to the System Configuration without having to manually edit the Registry, Boot.INI or AutoRun.INI files.
– The diagnostic mode is especially helpful in the event of system errors for troubleshooting purposes