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HP PCs - Using Microsoft System Configuration (Windows 7)

This document pertains to HP and Compaq PCs with Windows 7.
The Microsoft System Configuration (Msconfig) tool is a Microsoft software application used to change configuration settings, such as which software opens with Windows. This document explains how to use Msconfig to resolve problems with the computer.

This video shows how to use the Microsoft Configuration Utility

Using Msconfig to troubleshoot software issues in Windows 7

Msconfig helps Windows control the software that automatically loads while Windows is starting. For troubleshooting purposes, use the following steps to prevent all software programs from automatically opening when Windows starts.
Use the following steps to prevent all startup items from opening, including antivirus software and other software that provides important functions. Follow these steps for troubleshooting purposes only. If preventing all startup items from loading resolves the problem, you can use the Startup tab ( see following section) to prevent an individual software item from loading.
  1. Click Start, and then type msconfig into the Search box. Click msconfig.
    If you are prompted for an Administrator password or confirmation, type the password or provide confirmation.
    Figure : Opening the System Configuration tool
    System search window
    The System Configuration tool displays.
  2. Click the General tab.
  3. Select Selective startup, and then remove the checkmark next to Load startup items.
    Figure : General tab
    System Configuration General tab with Selective startup selected
  4. Click the Services tab.
  5. Select Hide all Microsoft services, and then click the Disable all button.
    Figure : Services tab
    System Configuration Services tab window
  6. Click OK.
  7. Restart the computer for the changes to take effect.
  8. If you find the problem no longer occurs after you prevent all software from loading, you can use the startup tab to try and find the exact software title that is causing the problem. Select all but one title from the startup tab and restart. Continue doing this, deselecting software and restarting each time until the problem no longer occurs. Uninstall or prevent software from loading that cause problems.
  9. When you have finished using the System Configuration tool, open it again and select Normal startup. Click OK.
    Figure : General tab Normal startup
    System Configuration General tab with Normal startup selected

General tab

Use the General tab to prevent specific software applications from opening with Windows. The following selections are on the General tab:
  • Normal startup - instructs Windows to open all software applications that are normally scheduled to start with Windows.
  • Diagnostic startup - starts Windows with basic services and drivers only. With this mode, you can determine if a basic Window file is the problem.
  • Selective startup - allows you to choose which programs and services you want to open, and which you want to keep from opening at startup tab.
    Figure : General tab
    System Configuration General tab window

Boot tab

The Boot tab shows configuration options listed inside the system information file. Some options in the Boot tab follow.
  • Safe boot: Minimal - Disables networking. Boots to the Windows user interface (Explorer) in safe mode, running critical system services only.
  • Safe boot: Alternate shell - Disables networking. Boots to the command prompt in safe mode, running critical system services only.
  • Safe boot: Active Directory repair - Similar to minimal safe boot, except the Active Directory is enabled.
  • Safe boot: Network - Similar to a minimal safe boot, except the network is enabled.
  • No GUI boot - The Windows splash screen is disabled when booting
  • Boot log - Stores all information from the boot process in a file.
  • Base video - Boots to Windows user interface in minimal VGA mode.
  • OS boot information - Shows each driver name as each driver is loaded during the boot process.
  • Make all boot settings permanent - Changes made in System Configuration are not tracked. If you want to make changes later, you will have to do so manually. Selecting Normal startup in the General tab will not work if this feature is selected.
  • Timeout field - Using Msconfig can cause the operating system selection screen to display for thirty seconds; as a result, thirty seconds is added to the overall startup time. To prevent the operating selection screen from appearing for thirty seconds on startup, change the timeout line in the Timeout field to zero.
    Figure : Boot tab
    System Configuration Boot tab window

Services tab

The Services tab lists the programs that start when Windows 7 starts, or are run periodically by Windows. Enable or disable programs from starting by checking or disabling the checkbox next to the program name.
Figure : Services tab
System Configuration Services tab window

Startup tab

The Startup tab lists software applications that open automatically after Windows opens. It also shows their current status (Running or Stopped). Disable individual software applications by removing the checkmark next to the name and path.
Do not disable the following startup items except for diagnostic purposes only:
This list is not comprehensive. For a more thorough list of software tasks, refer to Preventing Programs from Opening When Windows Starts.
  • HD Audio Control Panel
  • hp digital imaging - hp all-in-one series
  • HPRun
  • hpsysdrv
  • HP Total Care Advisor
  • Microsoft Windows Operating System
  • NVIDIA products
  • Symantec Technologies products
Figure : Startup tab
System Configuration Startup tab window
The following is a list of some of the types of software applications that open from the Startup tab:
  • Anti-virus software - Disable Anti-virus software only when troubleshooting. Make sure to enable the Anti-virus software when finished troubleshooting.
  • Keyboard managers - Disable to prevent the extended multimedia keys and volume control knob from working.
  • Systems tray icons - Disable to prevent a software application tray icon from displaying on the systems tray (next to the time).

Tools tab

The Tools tab lists diagnostic tools and other advanced tools you can run to improve computer performance. To run a tool, select the tool from the list and click the Launch button.
Figure : Tools tab
System Configuration Tools tab window






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