19 Mei, 2007

Use MSCONFIG To Turn Off Drivers and Applications that Load at Startup

If you are able to identify the driver or application that’s causing a startup problem, the obvious solution is to remove it or turn it off. Unfortunately, it is not always obvious how to do that. Programs that load at startup can be called from Win.ini, from the Startup program group, or directly from the Registry itself; drivers that load are called from the device’s properties in the Registry, and it’s not easy or safe for a beginning technician to edit the Registry directly.

For example, suppose a user had a scanner with a driver that loaded at startup, but then he removed the scanner and its software. However, for some reason the Registry never got the message and still tries to load the scanner driver at startup. You could look in the Startup folder on the Start menu, and if a utility for the scanner appears there, remove it. You could also look in Add/Remove Programs to see whether the driver can be uninstalled that way. But failing those two, the only thing left to do is edit the Registry to get rid of it.

Most versions of Windows come with a utility called the System Configuration Utility, also known by the name of the executable that starts it: MSCONFIG. This is a handy, safer way of editing the startup options in the Registry; you can turn individual items on or off freely, trying various combinations until you narrow down the problem.

To run it use Start/Run and type MSCONFIG. You can access this utility from Safe Mode, so you can use it to troubleshoot problems that prevent Windows from starting normally as well.

Each of the tabs enables you to deselect individual lines in the startup routine. For example, the Startup tab lists all the programs and utilities that are set to automatically load at startup. You can deselect a line and then try restarting Windows again to see whether that line was the root of the problem. If it wasn’t, come back to MSCONFIG, re-select it, and try deselecting something else.