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How To Use MSConfig

Information on each tab of the MSConfig tool.

MSConfig is the Microsoft System Configuration Utility for your PC. It allows you to adjust some of the gut-level settings for your system. Here's a brief overview of this utility. To access MSConfig, type Windows+R (or go to Start > Run), type MSConfig, and hit Enter.

How to Use MSConfig


Normally when your computer starts up, it loads all services, startup items, and .INI files. The General tab allows you to customize exactly what happens during system startup. This is generally used when troubleshooting complex startup issues.


The system.ini file is a configuration file that controls which device drivers and Windows shell during startup. XP, Vista, and Windows 7 generally don't rely on this configuration file, except through legacy support for 16-bit applications.


The win.ini configuration file controls additional boot settings for Windows which load during startup. Windows versions above 3.11 generally do not rely on this configuration file.


The boot.ini configuration file contorls which options to show during boot-up. This file can include a timeout variable to allow users time to select a boot volume and default operating system.


The services tab displays a list of all services installed on your system. Services are small programs that run in the background providing shared functionality, doing maintenance, and other services you may need while using your computer. Like startup items, many services are valuable to having running, but some can be unneccessary and tie-up system resources. The services tab allows you to disable or enable services that you wish to control manually.


The startup tab displays a list of all programs that are scheduled to open automatically during startup. This programs include some valuable core programs that you need running and optional programs (like chat software or updaters) that open during startup. Some startup items can be unneccessary and tie-up system resources. The startup tab allows you to disable or enable startup items that you wish to control manually.


This tab is a virtual toolbox, with a list of various system tools that you may wish to access during system troubleshooting, setup, and maintenance. Some of these tools can also be found through the Start menu in Programs > Accessories > System Tools.