MSConfig Startup for Windows 2000 users

Dennis Faas's picture

Last week I wrote an article which touched on a useful utility called msconfig. To recap what the program does: msconfig is a program that comes bundled with all version of Microsoft Windows, except Windows 2000. One of the most useful functions of the msconfig program is its Startup Tab which allows you to select / deselect programs from launching at the Windows Startup.

Why is that so useful, you say?

Well, I guess the answer to that question depends on what you have installed on your system. Sometimes, when a program is installed, it copies an instance of itself to the Windows Startup. After that, the program will be executed every time Windows is loaded. Some programs will notify you if it has placed itself in the Startup, while some programs just don't bother.

Is that sneaky? The answer is yes and no -- it all depends on the nature of the program.

The point is: if there are 20 programs listed your Windows Startup, then you have to wait for all 20 of those programs to finish loading before you can begin using your system. That can add a lot of time to the entire Startup process; it can also eat up a lot of memory and slow your system down.

Alright. Now that the basis behind msconfig has been covered -- you may be wondering why msconfig doesn't come bundled with Windows 2000. At least, you may wonder that if you're a Windows 2000 user. The answer is that I don't know why Microsoft didn't include it with Windows 2000. After all, it's present in all other versions of Windows.

What is a Windows 2000 user to do?

Once again, my troubleshooting techniques have taught me that google is a good starting point when searching for answers to most questions that can be found somewhere on the Internet. Why? Because google is the most accurate search engine that I know of in existence -- hands down.

Google's results came up a few viable possibilities. One of the most interesting facts that I found was that msconfig (which comes standard with all other versions of Windows) * is * compatible with Windows 2000. The only problem is that when msconfig first loads up under Windows 2000, it generates a bunch of error messages stating that it cannot find some files. Not to worry though -- the program still functions and the Startup Tab is usable. I tested it myself.

So where can you obtain msconfig for Windows 2000? You might be able to find it somewhere on the Internet; if you own any other version of Windows, you can simply copy it to floppy from the Windows\System directory and then place it in the WinNT\system32 directory.

That brings me to my next point. Unless you legally own another version of Windows (other than Windows 2000) that has the msconfig utility, it is (as far as I know) illegal to obtain / distribute / copy parts of another Microsoft operating system onto your system. That's why I'm not providing a link to a downloadable copy of msconfig.

OK. Maybe you've somehow managed to obtain an illegal copy of msconfig, and those error messages you see when you run msconfig under Windows 2000 leave you with an unsettled feeling... or, maybe you're scared that Microsoft is going to knock down your door and demand you hand over the illegitimate software snippet.

Not likely.

In any case, I managed to find some other useful third-party utilities which provide the same functionality as the msconfig Startup Tab that Windows 2000 users so desperately need.

As such, here are some quick picks in no particular order:

On a side note, there may be some programs listed in the Startup that you may not know what they are for. Two Infopackets Readers (Renee N. and Denise R.) emailed me after reading the featured article in the last newsletter and mentioned a web site that contains a database full of common programs that are listed in the Startup. Here is the email Renee N. wrote:

" RE:

Just thought I would pass this link on. A very comprehensive list of start up programs and if they can be removed and what they are for. Identifies programs, viruses, adware and snoopware. I was surprised when going through this list that I had a klez virus registry entry. Checking out the info and going through my computer, the virus was no where to be found. But still the entry was there. Anyway, just thought this link might be useful to you. I love your infopackets newsletter and have learned a lot already. Thanks so much for the time and info you share with us. "

After this newsletter was emailed, Vinnie A. wrote in:

" Dear Dennis,

In the msconfig there are check marks next to a program file. Do I just uncheck any one of them and and reboot? Or is that a bad idea? "

My response:

If the program name/directory is not listed immediately to the right of the check-mark, you'll have to do a search for the program to find out what it is. Example: for me, d:\utils\icq.exe is part of ICQ... but, ctfmon.exe, as it turns out, is part of Windows. To find out where the program is being pointed to, click:

Start -> Find -> Files / Folders

After that, type in the file name you're looking up which is located in the second column on the right side of the checkmark in msconfg. It should then come up with something -- a directory -- of where the file is located. Usually the directory name will tell you what the file is for.

Example: if there was a program called "navavg.exe" and I did a search on it, and the result turned up that the file was located in c:\program files\grisoft anti virus\navavg.exe, then I would know that the program is GriSoft's virus scanner.

If after you do all that and you still can't figure out what it is -- check out and see if it's listed here. If not, then you can always try trial and error: either take the check mark off and see if your system still functions properly -- or leave it alone and hope that it isn't something that shouldn't be there.

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