How to use the System Configuration tool and all its awesomeness! - Page 2

How to manage startup services

The Services tab shows a list with all the services that start when Windows starts. For each service you see its name, the manufacturer, the current status and the date when it was disabled (if it was disabled).

You can check the services you want to run at startup and uncheck the ones you don't. If you want to see only third-party services, installed by your applications, check the box which says “Hide all Microsoft services”.

Also, please note that the selections you make in this tab are applied to your current startup selection, from the General tab. If you were using a Normal startup and then you disabled some services, the startup selection gets changed automatically to Selective startup.

If you need some help in deciding which services to stop from running at startup, read this guide: Which Windows Services Are Safe to Disable & When?.

How to manage startup programs (Windows 7 only)

The Startup tab shows a list with all the programs and files that start when Windows starts. For each items you see its name, the manufacturer, the "command" used to start it (the path towards the program and additional parameters, if used), the registry startup location where it is stored and the date when it was disabled (if it was disabled).

An interesting aspect to remember about the registry location is that, if you see a location starting with HKLM, it means that the startup item is "global" - applied to all user accounts defined on the active operating system. Disabling them from one user account means that they get disabled for all user accounts.

The locations starting with HKCU are for startup items active only for the current user account. They might not be starting up for other user accounts. Also, such items need to be disabled individually, for each user account, if you want to prevent them from starting up completely.

Just like the Services tab, the selections you make are applied to your current startup selection, from the General tab.

If you are using Windows 8.1 or Windows 10, the Startup tab is empty. This is because the management of your computer's startup apps is done using the Task Manager.

How to start administrative programs and panels

V ery few people know about the Tools tab in System Configuration and what it does. If you click on it, you get a list with Windows administrative tools such as: System Information , the Registry Editor , Event Viewer , and so on.

For each tool, you see its name and description. If you click on it, you can see the command used to start it, in the Selected command field. To run any of the available tools, select the one you want and click Launch.

This tab is pretty handy as it lists administrative tools generally used during troubleshooting system stability or performance problems.

How to save your settings in System Configuration

After making all the changes you want, don't forget to press Apply or OK , so that they get applied. Also, if you are using the tool for the first time, when you close it, you will be informed that you need to restart your computer in order for the changes to get applied.

If you don't want to see this message again, check the box which says “Don't show this message again” and choose the restart option you prefer.

Conclusion

As you can see, the System Configuration (msconfig.exe) utility is very versatile and offers features few people know about. It can be a great tool for managing the startup process of your Windows computer and for troubleshooting stability and performance problems.