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Safe Startup Menu

Friday, September 22nd, 2006 by | Filed Under: System Tune-Up Help
 
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Q:
It seems like I have too many programs starting whenever I boot up my computer. Do you happen to have a list of programs that are safe to turn off in my startup menu?

A:
This is a very common question and I’ve actually gotten several e-mails from people in the past couple of weeks asking about this. I suppose it’s past time to do a rundown of what’s okay to disable from your computer’s startup menu and what’s not. We have already covered what’s safe to undo from the Services part of your computer, but there are different settings for the startup menu. You can read about the Services here if you’re interested in that as well.

Sometimes too many programs are set to begin as soon as you restart your computer each time. Often, there are items starting up that really don’t need to and in all actuality, some of those can even cause problems with your PC. It’s said that a high percentage of technical support issues are solved by stopping certain programs in the startup menu. Some are useful and need to be left alone, but some are just completely unnecessary to make your computer run. Always remember that the least amount of items starting up on your computer, the better.

Okay, here we go. Below is a list of some of the programs that you can disable in your startup menu and others that you should keep running. Please keep in mind that some of these may not be in your list. Most of these depend on the type of computer you have and the programs you have installed on your PC. For example, if you have that “trial” version of AOL on your computer, you will see several startup AOL programs, but if you don’t use it, you won’t need those programs, etc.

To get to your startup menu, go to Start, Run and type in “msconfig.” Click OK and a dialogue box will appear. Click on the Startup tab and you’re all set to begin. If you want to disable something, just uncheck it or if you want to do the opposite, place a checkmark next to it. It’s that simple!

Programs You Can Disable:

1.) ALCXMNTR – This deals with Realtek, which has to do with some of the soundcards that have been used in computers. This one is okay to disable, because if you’re having trouble with your sound, you won’t fix the problem through the startup menu anyway. That will always be done somewhere else.

2.) Atiptaxx – This item goes along with an ATI task bar icon that appears on your computer after you install the ATI drivers for the task bar. This icon helps you get to the system properties of the bar, but you can do that in several other ways, so you don’t really need this item running at your startup.

3.) Adobe Gamma Loader – This is included with any Adobe Photoshop 5.0 version or later. This feature mainly deals with colors in the Adobe program and if you’re not designing a lot of projects that will need to be printed in color, you don’t need this one running.

4.) AOLSP Scheduler, AOLDial, AOL Software, PortAOL, American Online 9.0, etc. – As I mentioned earlier, these all deal with the trial version of AOL and even if you have it on your computer, but don’t use it, you don’t need all of these things starting up when you turn on your computer. They will only take up space and slow you down. In fact, if you don’t use the AOL version, you might as well remove it altogether. Just go to Start, Control Panel, Add/Remove Programs and uninstall it. It will free up some of your space.

5.) hpztsb07, hpsysdrv - Both of these have to do with Hewlett-Packard machines. They help troubleshoot system recovery issues, but there are other ways you can get help with this with a Hewlett-Packard computer or printer, so it’s okay to turn both of these off.

6.) Rundll32 - This one deals with Microsoft. You will often see an error with the rundll files if your computer is having a hang up problem or if something is just goofing up. You generally won’t have problems with this one though, especially in Windows XP. If you don’t have any virus problems, etc., it’s okay to just leave this one alone.

7.) Sgtray – This is another system tray icon that sits in the background on your computer that works with a program called Storage Guard. It’s up to you if you want this program checking on you every so often or not, but it’s not necessary to have.

8.) Wallpaper Changer – You can change your desktop’s wallpaper using the Properties menu. You don’t need a special startup feature just for this, so go ahead and disable it.

Programs You Should Keep Enabled:

1.) ccApp – This item deals with Symantec, which goes along with the Norton antivirus program. This item is crucial to Norton working properly to keep your system safe from viruses. Don’t mess with this one!

2.) Ctfmon – This is another one that works with Microsoft (mostly Microsoft Office XP and Windows XP). It is used to activate certain parts of the text services and speech features in those programs and it’s often needed for the updates to work. It’s best to keep this one running.

3.) Qttask – This one deals with Apple’s QuickTime program. If you use QuickTime quite often, you’re going to want to keep this one running. Otherwise, disable it immediately.

Obviously, there are more programs that you can disable than ones you should leave enabled. Again, do keep in mind that there may be more (or fewer) programs in your startup list on your computer. Everyone’s is going to be different. For a complete list of startup items, you can check out this Web site and search for any item by letter. It’s very helpful if you’re having trouble deciding whether or not to turn something off.

Also, if you disable something and you see that your computer is having trouble, you can always go back and enable them to see if it solves the problem. Chances are, that is where your problem will lie. Good luck and be safe!

~ Erin

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