Killing Microsoft System Configuration Utility (msconfig)

MSConfig
Image via Wikipedia

As I was fixing a computer lately, I was reminded of how other IT folks just love disabling msconfig in windows.

msconfig is a simple utility on our Windows OS that takes care of the startup process, available on Windows Xp and Vista (just type msconfig on run command bar in Xp or at Start Search box at the orb on Windows Vista). It’s part of Windows installation, no need to download or install it.

The power of msconfig lies on its capability to aid us in troubleshooting start-up issues and allow us to handle what applications should run and should not at boot time.

msconfig screenshot
Image by reyescarl via Flickr

The general tab (msconfig in Vista) gives us three options:

1. Normal Startup – all drivers and services are loaded, microsoft services and third-party services. This is the default.

2. Diagnostic Startup – load basic devices, drivers and services only. usually, those that are only needed to fire up your PC. Used when troubleshooting start-up issues.

3. Selective Startup – more specific choices what to load on boot up, you can load system services only, startup items only (those that you allow from the startup tab on msconfig), original boot configuration only, or all of three. also used when troubleshooting issues on boot up.

At this point, you might be starting to wonder, and may be asking, what about msconfig? why the hell should I care?

For one, there are lots of IT guys out there who love to disable this permanently as part of their fix. That is want I rant about. Some people love to disable msconfig to make the system run and feel faster, but that is thwarted, that is faking. When our OS lags, this might be a result of many reasons. One could be lack of resources, i.e. memory, disk space, processor, etc. Second reason could be you overstuffed your system with applications some of it you don’t even use. Why fake speed by disabling msconfig, just to let people believe the system is running faster.

Over the years of my IT experience, I had a lot about this scenario, end-users complaining because their software or Operating Systems are not running as it should only to find out that the technician they hired disabled msconfig. How amateur that is.

My opinion is, if you do want your OS to run smooth, pack in more hardware resources, increase the memory, if you have 512mb why not get 2gb, why not upgrade the processor? or the buy a faster running hard drive. or remove the softwares that you don’t use, I bet in every PC, there will be one or two softwares installed that are not in use.

The honest me tells that msconfig has many things to do and disabling it would cause more problems than solutions. In fact, it’s not a sound solution at all. I might accept the idea if you are troubleshooting or isolating startup problem, but you have to return it to its Normal state afterwards. Don’t disable it forever. If softwares are getting in the way during boot ups remove it or at least google your way to find a solution for the problem. Check for updates, find permanent solutions rather than kill msconfig. I am sure we can do better than killing the little app and consider the issue fixed. No. Unacceptable.

Want to figure out msconfig? check here.

Ciao!

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