MSConfig |


MSConfig is a system utility to troubleshoot the Microsoft Windows startup process. It can disable or re-enable software, device drivers and Windows services that run at startup, or change boot parameters.

Windows includes all sorts of hidden little utilities that you can use to configure and change system settings that are normally not visible in areas like the Control Panel.

How to open MSConfig in Windows 10

  1. • From the taskbar, search System Configuration.
  2. • Select the top result, System Configuration desktop app.

How to use MSCONFIG system startup in Windows!


The first tab that is selected by default is usually always the General tab.

Here you can see three selectable radio buttons under the heading System Startup Selection

Normal startup
is selected by default, unless changed. 

meaning that Windows starts as is, with ALL the installed startup items, drivers, and services. This mode should be selected by default on most Windows devices, except when you have already made some changes to what drivers, services or apps are loaded at boot time.

Diagnostic startup starts Windows in a “stripped down” functional mode that is similar to, but not the same as, Safe Mode. Safe Mode runs only Windows services and drivers. Besides them, the Diagnostic startup might also run, on top of them, networking services or important services from third-party applications such as your antivirus, firewall or security suite. If you choose this option, be sure to change it when you finish troubleshooting, or Windows will continue to start this way.

Selective startup”: makes Windows start only with its essential services and drivers. Furthermore, it also allows you to select other services and startup items that you want to run, from the Services and Startup tabs.

It is also important to note that if you switch between startup modes, do some troubleshooting and then go back to using the “Normal startup” again, all the services and startup items are going to be enabled at startup.

If what you want is to stop some apps, drivers or services from starting automatically with Windows, you need to go through the list of services and startup items and edit them again. You can see how to do that, later in this guide. For now though, note that once you make changes, the “Selective startup” is going to be checked as the active startup selection.

See what operating systems are installed on your PC and choose which one is the default


The System Configuration tool also offers a graphical way of choosing which of the operating systems installed on your PC loads first. In the System Configuration tool, switch to the Boot tab, and you can view all the operating systems installed on your computer and select the default one if you have a multi-boot setup. To select a new default operating system, click or tap on it and then on “Set as default.”

Choose how long the PC waits for you to select the operating system to be booted


If you have a multi-boot setup, another important setting is the Timeout setting. The number of seconds you set represents how long your PC waits for you to select one of the available operating systems when booting. If no choice is made during the set time, the default operating system starts.


By default, the Timeout is set to 30 seconds. If you have a multi-boot setup, you might want to set it to a smaller value. We, for instance, prefer to set the Timeout to only 10 seconds. This way, if we do not select another operating system, the total boot timing of the default one is not affected that much.

Choose how long the PC waits for you to select the operating system to be booted


For the Windows operating system installed on your computer, the System Configuration tool also lets you configure complicated details about the way it boots.

If you set a maximum number of processor cores and RAM, Windows continues to correctly identify the real number of cores that the processor has and the amount of physical RAM. However, it can only use the limited number of processor cores and the maximum memory that you have set.

Make Windows boot into Safe Mode


For each Windows operating system installed on your PC, the System Configuration tool also lets you select if you want to make it boot into Safe Mode. To do that, in the Boot tab, you must check the option called “Safe boot” and select one of its available options:

  • • Minimal – the normal safe boot, with a user interface and no networking services enabled.
  • • Alternate shell – opens the Command Prompt in Safe Mode. The networking services and the graphical user interface are disabled.
  • • Active Directory repair – a normal safe boot which runs, additionally, the Active Directory services and features.
  • • Network – the normal safe boot with networking services enabled.

Disable the Windows boot loading screen, log the startup process, use standard video drivers and others

Also in its Boot tab, the System Configuration tool gives you a set of advanced options which can be applied to both standard and Safe Mode boot procedures:

  • • “No GUI boot” – during boot, you are not shown the usual loading screen, only a black screen with no information.
  • • “Boot log” – during boot Windows writes a complete log with information about the startup process. Usually, it can be found at this location: “C:WindowsNtbtlog.txt.”
  • • “Base video” – this option is handy if you just installed lousy video drivers. It makes a standard Windows startup, with the difference that it loads only the standard video drivers that come with Windows, instead of the ones specific to your video card.
  • • “OS boot information” – this option should be used together with “No GUI Boot.” The usual Windows loading screen will get replaced with a black screen, displaying complete information about the drivers that are loaded during the startup process. If your Windows crashes during boot, this visualization mode can be useful to identify the driver that causes the crash.

Select what services are started with Windows


The Services tab from the System Configuration tool shows a list of all the services that start when Windows starts. For each service, you see its name, the manufacturer, the current status and the date when it was disabled if it was disabled.

You can check the services you want to run at startup and uncheck the ones you do not. If you desire to see only third-party services, installed by your applications, check the box that says “Hide all Microsoft services.”

The selections you make in this tab are applied only to your current startup selection, from the General tab. If you were using a “Normal startup,” and then you disabled some services, the startup selection gets changed automatically to “Selective startup.”

Manage the startup programs


If you are using Windows 10 or Windows 8.1, the Startup tab gives you just a link to “Open Task Manager.” This is because the management of your computer’s startup apps is done using the Task Manager

Launch administrative programs and panels


Few people know about the Tools tab in System Configuration and what it does. If you click on it, you get a list of Windows administrative tools such as System Information, the Registry Editor, Event Viewer, Performance Monitor and so on.

For each tool, System Configuration shows its name and description. If you click or tap on it, you can see the command used to start it, in the Selected command field. To run any of the available tools, select the one you want and click or tap Launch.

As you can see, the Tools tab from System Configuration is handy as it lists administrative tools generally used during troubleshooting system stability or performance problems.

Are you using the System Configuration tool to change the way Windows works?

As you can see, the System Configuration (msconfig.exe) utility is a versatile tool that offers useful features for people who want to change the way Windows starts and works. It can be an excellent tool for managing the startup process of your Windows computer but also for troubleshooting stability and performance problems.

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