Windows 7 - Using the System Configuration Tool to Control Startup

One tool that has existed in multiple versions of Windows that lets you control program startup is the System Configuration program. That program is also available in Windows 7. To open System Configuration, open the Control Panel, click All Control Panel Items, and click Administrative Tools.

The General tab, offers three options for controlling startup:
• Normal Startup. Start Windows normally. All items that normally start automatically are started.

• Diagnostic Startup. Load only basic device drivers and operating system services but not other services or programs. Use this option to troubleshoot problems with Windows startup that might be caused by a third-party service, device driver, or program.

• Selective Startup. Choose which types of items will start automatically. Start Windows with basic devices and services, and optionally other system services and startup programs.

The Boot tab, lets you control how Windows boots. The large text box lists all the operating system boot selections. If Windows 7 is the only operating system on the computer, it will be the only one listed in the text box. If you have a dual-boot system (for example, with Windows XP and Windows 7 on the same computer in different partitions), those additional operating system instances will also be listed. Click an instance and then click Set As Default to make that operating system boot by default when the computer starts.

The other options under the Boot Options group let you configure options for a safe boot so that the next time you start Windows, it will boot with the specified safe boot option. You can also set other boot options. Because you likely will use these options rarely, if ever, I point you to the Help content rather than cover them here. Just click the Help button on the Boot tab to view an explanation of these options.

Use the option Make All Boot Settings Permanent to have the settings apply every time you boot the computer.

The Services tab gives you a means to disable services so that they do not start when Windows boots. This tab also shows the current state of the services on the computer. Selecting the check box beside a service indicates that the service is enabled. You can disable a service by deselecting its check box. If you want to view only third-party services, select the Hide All Microsoft Services check box. This helps you identify services that are not part of the Windows 7 operating system.

In general, you should avoid disabling services unless you know exactly what the service does and what the consequences of disabling it will be. Usually, you want to disable a service only if a tech support engineer or some troubleshooting documentation has directed you to do so.

The Startup tab shows programs that start through an entry in the Windows registry. Typically, these programs are listed in the registry key HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\
SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Run. You can disable a program from starting from its registry entry by deselecting the check box.

Often, program developers will design their programs to start from the registry instead of the Startup folder when they don’t want the user to be able to turn off the program without uninstalling it. This is typical for antivirus programs and other utility programs. If you are trying to turn off a program and you don’t find it in one of the Startup folders, there is probably an entry for the program in the registry that causes it to start automatically.

The Tools tab gathers a selection of useful tools for troubleshooting problems with your computer and getting more information about programs. Just click a tool and click Launch to open the tool.

After you make changes to configuration settings in the System Configuration tool, you need to click OK and then restart the computer to make the changes take effect.

The Windows registry is a group of files that store configuration information for Windows and applications. The Registry Editor program offers another means for viewing and changing the contents of the registry. However, you should never change registry settings unless you know exactly what you’re doing, because an\ incorrect change could potentially prevent Windows from booting or working properly.

Source of Information : Windows 7 Bible (2009)

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