How To Stop Programs From Starting Up With Windows Using msconfig

In this tutorial we will look at how to access msconfig in Windows 7 and XP (it will be the same for Vista) in order to stop certain programs from loading with Windows. There can be many different reasons as to why you may want to do this, but the main two are normally trying to speed-up boot times or trying to figure out which program may be causing an issue with the normal windows start up. Whatever your reason, let’s see how we can go about doing it.

Note: Some programs (Adobe Bridge for example) will have a built in feature that makes them start at boot, even if you disable them in msconfig. If this is your case, have a look at that programs preferences and stop it starting at Windows Startup.

First let’s start with how to do it in Windows 7

Press the Windows Key + R which will bring up the Run box, and type msconfig and hit OK. You can also go: Start>and type Run. Then select Run from the list that will present itself and the Run window will show.

Run box Win 7

Once you hit OK, you will be presented with the System Configuration window where you can stop any Services or Startup items/ programs.

Select the Services tab, and then check the Hide all Microsoft services box below. This will hide all of the MS services that normally run at boot time which makes it a lot easier to see what 3rd party program services are starting with your computer. Uncheck the ones that you do not require to start with your computer (you don’t actually need any of them) and hit Apply.

msconfig windows 7

Now select the Startup tab and again, deselect any or all the programs that you don’t wish to load with Windows. I’d leave your anti-virus and Firewall ticked, unless you are doing this to check for a troublesome program. If you are having startup issues, then disabling the AV and or Firewall is normally a good place to start. (Norton & McAfee I’m looking at you)

msconfig windows 7 startup

Once you are finished, hit Apply and OK. Reboot for any effect to take effect.

Next let’s look at how to do the same thing in Windows XP:

Again, press the Windows Key + R, or just do Start>Run and the Run window will show. Typemsconfig and hit OK.

Run box xp

The System Configuration Utility window will now appear. Note: It look slightly different to that of the one in Windows 7, however, for what you want to do, the process is the same.

Select the Services tab, and then check the Hide all Microsoft services box below. This will hide all of the MS services that normally run at boot time which makes it a lot easier to see what 3rd party program services are starting with your computer. Uncheck the ones that you do not require to start with your computer (you don’t actually need any of them) and hit Apply.

msconfig services tab xp

Now select the Startup tab and again, deselect any or all the programs that you don’t wish to load with Windows. Again, I’d leave your anti-virus and Firewall ticked, unless you are doing this to check for a troublesome program. Hit Apply and OK.

startup tab xp

Once you hit OK, you will be asked if you wish to Restart or Exit Without Restart. The choice is yours of course, but unless you have something running in the background that you don’t wish to stop at this time, I’m guessing you will choose the Restart one.

Now if you were using msconfig to troubleshoot a startup issue and the issue is gone when rebooting; simply re-apply each program one-by-one (reboot each time) to see which one was causing the issue.

That’s it. Hopefully this has shown you how to go about this.

If you have any questions, then please ask them below. If you are experiencing boot-up issues and you are still having trouble, then you should go to the free Tech Support Forums and ask your question there. They are the best freetech support forum out there (IMHO) and have some fantastic staff.

Comments

  1. i know this but i want to know how to prevent programs from adding to the startup automatically.

    • Unfortunately, a lot of programs have this function built in as they are installed. A lot of people when installing a new program will just hit next without looking at what else they are installing or the options of what is included etc.
      If there were no options during the install of the program to not allow the program to start with windows, then you should find it in the ‘Preferences’ section of that program.

      It ones of those annoying things with a lot of programs out there.

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