The System Configuration utility can provide some useful troubleshooting features. In this video, you’ll learn how to manage the boot process, enable and disable programs, and easily launch other troubleshooting tools.
If you’re a system administrator, you’ve certainly used the system configuration utility before. A lot of us simply call it msconfig because that’s what you type in at the command line to launch the system configuration utility. The utility itself allows you to manage boot process, configure how Windows starts up.
You can define what services and other programs are starting– all from this single utility in Windows. Instead of typing msconfig at the command line, you can also find the system configuration utility in your Control Panel under Administrative Tools. There are five tabs in system configuration.
There’s general, boot, services, startup, and tools. This first tab for general controls what part of Windows is going to startup during the boot process. You can choose to configure a normal startup where everything loads just as it normally does, or you can choose a diagnostic startup, which is very similar to the Windows Safe Mode except the diagnostics startup is only going to load basic devices and services only.
The last option you have is a selective startup where you get to choose whether you want to load system services, load the startup items, or decide to use original boot configurations. In the Boot tab, you can control exactly what operating system is loading when the system starts up. In my configuration, I have a single OS listed here. But if there are other operating systems on your computer, you would see those listed here as well.
If you choose the advanced option selection, you can choose how many processors will start when Windows starts up, the maximum amount of memory, and other debug settings in here as well. There are also a number of boot options available. For example, you can force Windows to start into safe boot. You could choose to get rid of the GUI during the boot process.
You could create a boot log when the system starts and other diagnostic tools as well. If you’re troubleshooting a Windows boot problem, you’re probably going to find the tools you need to troubleshoot it right here in this Boot tab. When your system starts up, there are a number of services that automatically start as well.
If any of those services are having a problem, they could affect the entire operating system. So it’d be useful during the startup process to determine what services you would like to start and which ones you would not like to start. You do that all from the Services tab of the system configuration utility. You simply check mark the services that you would like to have started when the system starts up or disable that check mark to make sure that service does not start during the boot process.
There are obviously many services that are starting during this boot process, so it may take a bit of trial and error to find exactly the service that’s causing your problem. But fortunately, the system configuration utility in the Services tab can make this process as easy as possible. Not only are there services that start automatically when your system boots, there are also other user applications that can start during the boot up process as well.
In the Startup tab, you’ll find a list of all of the applications that start automatically, and you can enable or disable them by checking the box. This is another one of those troubleshooting tasks that can take a number of iterations before you find the problematic app, but at least the system configuration is going to make the process of enabling and disabling these apps as easy as possible. If you’re running Windows 8, 8.1, or Windows 10, you’ll notice that the Startup tab doesn’t have any startup options inside of it. That’s because all of this startup process has been moved to the Task Manager in those versions of Windows.
And if you click that link inside of system configuration, it will automatically start the Task Manager and provide you with the same options that you had in earlier versions. And lastly, the Tools tab provides you with an easy way to startup other utilities that you could use for troubleshooting. All of these are listed under the tool names in that column, and this may be a little easier than trying to find the right tool you need from the command prompt or from the Windows menus.