Introduction To System Configuration Utility and How To Launch The Program In All Versions of Windows

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Introduction To Microsoft System Configuration Utility

Obviously the first thing you need to learn before actually using MSCONFIG is what the the program is there for and what it does. MSCONFIG is short for Microsoft System Configuration Utility and as its name implies is a small utility bundled in all versions of Windows (except Windows 2000). MSCONFIG doesn't appear as an icon on your desktop nor does it appears as a link the start menu so you will have to manually launch this program from by using the Windows RUN command.

There is a small program available on this website if you are running Windows 2000, that will work exactly like the MSCONFIG program found in the XP operating system.  To download the Windows 2000 standalone version of MSCONFIG Click here.

Here is how MSCONFIG looks in Windows XP:

System Confgiuration Utility As Shown Being Used in Windows XP Professional
System Configuration Utility As Shown Being Used in Windows XP Professional


As you can tell there is no longer a SYSTEM.INI, WINI.INI, or BOOT.INI tabs at the top of the window in the Windows 7 version. Here's how it looks in Windows 7:

System Confgiuration Utility As Shown Being Used in Windows 7 Professional
System Configuration Utility As Shown Being Used in Windows 7 Professional


And in Windows 8 there is little difference but its worth documenting how it looks under that operating system.

System Confgiuration Utility As Shown Being Used in Windows 8.1 and 10
System Configuration Utility As Shown Being Used in Windows 8.1 and 10


Benefits Of Microsoft System Configuration

There are several uses for the MSCONFIG program. Mainly used for diagnostics and troubleshooting, MSCONFIG can be safely used to fix common software problems with the operating system or to modify certain system settings to troubleshoot problems.

Common Uses Of System Configuration

  1. Troubleshoot The Way Windows Starts

    If Windows is not starting up correctly, or there is a problem with the operating system you can instruct Msconfig to start up selectively loading a certain or fixed set of device drivers to isolate where the problem might be coming from.

  2. Troubleshoot Problematic Software Driver Issues

    If you suspect that a hardware device installed in the computer is causing a problem, you can safely use MSCONFIG to troubleshoot the software component that controls that functioning of the hardware.

  3. Start A Windows Operating System In Safe Mode
    If you are experience a problem with Windows and cannot boot the computer, you can use System Configuration to do a selective startup (or a startup that loads only a minimal set of drivers and files needed to properly run Windows). This will help you troubleshoot the operating system).
  4. Disable Unused Windows System Services

A System service is a a program running silently in the background that gives Windows an ability to control an do a particular function. If you are having problems with the System Services, System Configuration can be used to enable and disable a particular service useful if you are troubleshooting a particle function on the system.


How To Launch MSCONFIG In Any Operating System

To launch System Configuration Utility the process is pretty universal to any operating system. The easiest way to launch it is by accessing it's associated command through the Windows Start Menu.

In Windows XP:

The following section will walk you through how to to launch MSCONFIG in Windows XP. Of course screenshots are included for easy reference.

1. Left click the  button.

2. Left click the Run command on the Start menu .

Accessing The Windows Run Command From The Start Menu
Accessing The Windows Run Command From The Start Menu
This will cause the open box to appear as shown in Figure 1.2B in the next section.
The main executable for the Microsoft System Configuration Utility that we want to run is simply named MSCONFIG. This is universal to any Windows operating system.

3. In the open box type MSCONFIG.

4. Left click the OK button. You can also press the Enter key after you type the command. This will launch the MSCONFIG utility to load.

 

Figure 1.2B - Launching the MSCONFIG Executable Program
Figure 1.2B - Launching the MSCONFIG Executable Program
 Proceed to the next section for information about how each option works within this program.

How To Load MSCONFIG in Windows 7 Professional

The following section will walk you through how to to launch MSCONFIG in Windows 7.

The Start Orb
The Start Orb

1. Left click the Start  Orb.

2. Left click Start Search.

The Start Menu in Windows 7 Professional
The Start Menu in Windows 7 Professional

3. In the search box type msconfig and wait for the list of results to get populated.

Running MSCONFIG Under Windows 7 Professional
Running MSCONFIG Under Windows 7 Professional

4. Select MSCONFIG in the list of results.


How To Load MSCONFIG in Windows 8

The following section will walk you through how to to launch MSCONFIG in Windows 8. The procedures are identical for that found in Windows 7 operating system.

1. Since Windows 8 has no start button you need to access the run command by holding down the Start key on your keyboard and pressing R at the same time

Accessing The Windows Run Command In Windows 8.1 Professional
Accessing The Windows Run Command In Windows 8.1 Professional

2. In the open box type MSCONFIG and press enter or left click OK.

3. The System Configuration Utility for Windows 8.1 program will load.


Congratulations! That explains how to launch System Configuration Utility (MSCONFIG) in all versions of Windows to troubleshoot and diagnose your computer and operating system. The Next series of pages will explain more advanced topics that help you understand how various system components in Windows operate and what you can do to safely troubleshoot  your computer.

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