Sunday, May 06, 2007

PC Troubleshooting using MSconfig

Starting with Windows 98 Microsoft added a feature that allows you to control what starts with your computer every time you boot up. It comes in very handy to help troubleshoot PC problems. But you need to be careful not to disable something you may need because then you can cause even more problems! There are several ways to access this utility but the quickest way is to go to Start, then Run and type in msconfig and click OK. It will then bring up a window which looks like the following.

MSconfig Panel

You will then want to click on the Startup tab to display the items that are checked to start up with your system. Your system will most likely have different items than shown so don’t worry if it doesn’t look the same.

Msconfig Startup

You can see that the first column contains the name for the startup item. Most of the time this is enough to tell you what the item is.

The second column shows the path to where the file is located. You can use this to get a better idea of what the startup item might be. For example, the third item named VPTray doesn’t really tell you what it is but if you look at the command column you can see that there is the word Symantec in there which tells you it has something to do with your antivirus program and should probably be left alone.

The third column named Location shows where the item is listed in the registry in case you get really daring and want to get rid of it that way although I advise against it.

You may also want to look at the services tab to see what services are set to startup with your computer. This may come in handy especially for fighting viruses. Many viruses like to create a service that starts up with each reboot.

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