^ Back to Top

Advanced Computer Systems

Networking, Help Desk, & Custom Software

Use MSCONFIG to speed computer start

Remember: if you feel uncomfortable performing these tasks, ACS can provide these services for you.

Most computer owners purchased their computer bundled with software or have loaded numerous applications over the months or years of ownership.  Many of these programs load what we once called “terminate and stay resident” programs which consumes computer memory and slows the computer. The programs very seldom need these startup programs to work (AOL is an example).

In most cases these programs let you know they are there by putting a small icon on your start bar near the clock.  Don’t confuse the icons near the start button with the ones near the clock.  The ones that may be near your start button don’t really affect performance significantly, while the ones near the clock can.

Some of these programs slowly consume memory (called memory leaking), causing the computer to run slower over time.  Some of them just use valuable computer processing time.  Some merely make the computer somewhat unstable. Some do very little except slow your computer’s boot time.  If you have many icons near the clock and you turn most of them off, you should see a noticeable improvement in boot time.

Programs you do want to keep in your startup include your virus scanner software, scheduling agent, and system tray.   Don’t worry about accidentally turning off something you need, because you can always turn them back on later.


The utility used below is very powerful.  It could drastically affect the operation of the computer.  Limiting yourself to the "startup" tab mentioned below will minimize the likelihood of experiencing difficulty.  As mentioned at the beginning of the article, ACS can provide these services for you.

 How To:

To change what runs at startup you’ll want to use msconfig.

  • Click Start->Run and type msconfig, then click “OK”.
  • Click on the “Startup” tab.
  • Remove the check mark from all boxes except the ones you want to see run.
  • Click “OK”.
  • You’ll want to restart the computer for the changes to go into effect.
  • After rebooting you may get a message indicating you've modified the startup. This is expected.  Just click the checkbox and "OK" to continue.

   If you accidentally stop something from running you can run msconfig again and put the check back in the box and restart again.