Ramblings From The Litter Tray of Life

Where’s my MSCONFIG gone?!

Posted by graycat on 24 June 2008

[dodgey sci-fi voice over]

There exists and application.

So powerful that it keeps the load-up in line.

It has existed since the dawn of XP.

But now it has …… gone!

[/dodgey voice over]

Ok, it’s nothing quite that amazing or worthy of it’s own show with a special effects budget but it is very useful.

MSCONFIG is an application in Windows XP that is used to troubleshoot the start-up process of a machine. With it you can see what is starting up when, what applications are launching in the background, what services are set to start or not and a few other things.

The most common use I’ve seen for it is to simply speed up the boot process by cutting down what is launched in the background.

When you launch this from the command line (type msonfig and hit go) you’ll be presented with a number of tabs. These are:

  • General – gives you options on what mode to start Windows in (safe mode etc)
  • System.ini – is where old versions of Windows lists system files to be loaded, such as drivers and fonts
  • Win.ini – is pretty much redundant nowadays but pertains to old versions of Windows
  • Boot.ini – provides some extra boot options
  • Services – controls the services
  • Startup – deals with what applications are launched at start-up.

There’s also a “Tools” tab but that’s only in Vista so I’m not going to cover it here. Oh, whilst msconfig is native in XP, you can copy it over to a 2000 Pro machine and it’ll run fine from there. handy if you’ve got a mixed environment.

Now more often than not this little app is just there and saves a lot of time and effort. However, on the odd occasion simply typing msconfig in the run box will produce the dreaded “command not recognised” error message.

But worry not! It is still there, it’s just not been registered. To quickly find it you need to go to “c:\windows\pchealth\helpctr\binaries” and low, you will find what you seek.

Personally, if a machine slides sufficiently that I need to use msconfig and its not there then it instantly jumps up the queue for being rebuilt ala the ghosting process. However, if that’s not possible and you want to fix it so you can just type msconfig at the root command line you can correct the issue in the registry. The path declared under HKLM\sotware\microsoft\windows\currentversion\app paths\msconfig\

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