The Windows System Configuration utility is a useful utility with many different administrative features. In this video, you’ll learn how to use the different features of the System Configuration utility.
The Windows system configuration utility is a great tool to use for a system administrator. You can go to one place and see what all of the different programs there are that start when your Windows system starts up. You can see what services are configured to start during the startup process. And you can change the way that Windows starts up as well.
To be able to start the system configuration, you can go to the Control Panel/Administrative tools or you can run msconfig.exe. The first tab on the Windows system configuration is the General tab where you can set a normal startup, a diagnostic startup, or a selective startup. The normal startup loads all device drivers and all services. So it’s just like your normally-starting Windows.
If you’d like to have a more restrictive start up, you might want to use the diagnostic startup, which is only going to load the basic devices and services only. You can think of this as being one step above running something in Safe Mode. There’s also the selective startup where you can control whether you’d like to load system services, load startup items, or load the normal configuration for your system.
The next tab over is the Boot tab. And this is going to allow us to set different configuration boot options for different operating systems that we might have configured for our computer. Under the Advanced options, you can change things like the number of processors that would be used for a particular operating system session or you might want to change what the maximum memory might be while you’re using that particular session of the OS.
You can also configure separate boot options for this particular operating system. For example, you can configure safe boot or you might want to disable the graphical user interface during the boot process so that you can see all of the different drivers loading. And you might want to tell the operating system to write a boot log that way if the system is hanging during the boot process you can go back and look at the log to see where during the boot process did things happen to go bad.
We all know that our operating system has many different services that load during the startup process. So from the Windows system configuration utility you can enable and disable many different services at one time. This is so much easier than using the services applet because inside of system configuration I can simply click to enable or disable certain services. This is very useful if you want to try disabling some services, restarting the system, and see if you can resolve whatever problem you might be having.
As with services, there are also a number of applications that begin during startup and you’ll find all of those under the Startup tab. You probably won’t see just three startup applications. There may be pages of these on a particular system so it’s very easy to enable and disable these with the check boxes. This way you can go through and disable a certain set of applications, reboot your system, and see if you found where the problem happens to be.
This is a very popular feature and it’s now in Task Manager in Windows 8 and 8.1. You’ll still find it in system configuration in Windows Vista and Windows 7. And if you’re looking for a utility that’s not available inside of the system configuration you can go to the Tools tab where there’s a list of popular administrative tools listed.
These are things like the UAC settings. We can go to Windows Troubleshooting, Computer Management, System Information, and other utilities as well. This is a static list so you can’t add anything else to this list of tools, but this does provide a very quick way of starting these utilities without having to go outside of the system configuration utility and start them up manually.