Recovering your Windows System Resources with System Configuration (MSCONFIG)

Article by Chris Briand, CSWE created/updated August 9, 2011

In my last post I discussed all of the unnecessary, auxiliary processes that may be running on your system.  Items such as update utilities, that generally present themselves as Icons within your System Tray or Notification Area (near your clock in the Windows Taskbar). In an effort to stop the bleeding of system resources I would like to introduce you to the clotting agent: System Configuration (MSCONFIG).

Microsoft provides the System Configuration utility as a means to tweak your system tray and the processes and services that run when windows starts, however it is rarely mentioned.

As I mentioned in my last post: Shutting down processes can result in some programs or services on your machine not functioning as you expect. You may want to consult with your IT department before implementing any changes to your system.

Accessing the System Configuration

For Windows 7: From your Start menu, choose RUN to open up the RUN dialog and type MSCONFIG, this will bring up the System Configuration utility.

 

For Windows 10: Type ‘System Configuration’ into the search box of the Taskbar

 

Windows 10 system configuration

Windows 10 system configuration

System Configuration Options

Let’s take a tour of one of the most useful tools within windows. Skip over the ‘general’ and “boot’ tabs as we won’t be making any adjustments to these two items.

Windows System Configuration

Windows System Configuration

Under the Services tab, be sure to check off the “Hide all Microsoft services” at the bottom of the tab, to avoid disabling the really important stuff that keeps your OS pumping.  Generally there is not too much I usually disable when I am sorting through this particular list. It is good to ask yourself, “Do I really,…really, need items such as the iPod service running??”, and if not………. disable it.

System Configuration Services

System Configuration Services

 

Finally onto the Startup Tab. Many of the items in the startup listing will be self explanatory – more-so with Windows 7 over older versions of windows:

MSCONFIG Startup Tab

System Configuration Startup Tab (Windows 7)

For Windows 10 you are directed to click on Open Task Manager

System configuration startup

System Configuration Startup Tab (Windows 10)

From there you can access the Startup items:

Startup Tasks

Startup Items (Windows 10)

Some of the items you will likely have to Google to discover exactly what they relate to (with Windows 10 you can right-click on an item and select Search to discover what it does). Again, many of the items will be programs that you want to have running at startup – your virus scanner,  drivers for your computer’s audio system.

Disabling Programs

Among items that I may personally consider unchecking (or right-click and disable in Windows 10) would be:

  • DivX Update
  • iTunes
  • QuickTime
  • Java(TM) Platform auto Updater
  • Adobe Reader and Acrobat managers
  • Adobe Creative Cloud

As I mentioned in my earlier post, as I am likely shutting down programs that will assist me in keeping my software and utilities up to date, this will place the responsibility for ensuring that my system is up to date on my shoulders as the user. Generally I perform these updates on an as-needed basis.

Some of these items listed may be software that I will eventually need on my work PC, however to have them running at startup all the time is a waste of resources and slows the startup of the operating system. Once I have chosen which items should be unchecked within the Startup Tab of the System Configuration utility, choose “OK” and close the dialog.

When you restart your machine

Upon restart of your PC you will be prompted with a message “You have used the System Configuration Utility to make changes to the way Windows Starts”.  The System Configuration Utility is currently in Diagnostic or Selective Startup mode, causing this message to be displayed and the utility to run every time Windows Starts.”

This is mainly a warning to users who were not planning to shut off any processes or services in the case that something malicious has done this for them. The check-box within the warning dialog, will allow you to close the dialog and never see the warning during subsequent restarts.

Stay tuned for more system tweaks to improve your system performance!

Posts related to 'Recovering your Windows System Resources with System Configuration (MSCONFIG)'

Chris Briand, CSWE

Chris has been educating and supporting Engineers, Designers and IT Personnel within the 3D CAD industry since 2002, and was adopted into the fantastic team of applications experts here at Javelin Technologies in early 2006.  Chris enjoys the continuous learning driven by the ingenuity and challenges Designers bring forward. Innovation using 3D Printing, 3D CAD and other technologies, combined with a diverse background as a technologist, allows Chris to find solutions that accelerate Designers, and take Design Teams to new heights. Chris is currently being held at an undisclosed location, near Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada.