1. "How to Troubleshoot Using the Msconfig Utility in Windows Millennium Edition (Q281995)"
2. "How to Troubleshoot Using the Msconfig Utility with Windows 98 (Q281965)"
3. The System Configuration Utility (SCU - Msconfig.exe) provides a graphical interface for configuring the Microsoft Windows startup environment. The SCU lets you troubleshoot by creating a clean environment to test against. If a problem is not reproducible after performing a Diagnostic startup, a process of elimination can be used to identify the source.
a. The SCU lets you edit lines of configuration files, like Config.sys or System.ini, and provides the ability to "remark" individual lines in the files, preventing the lines from executing or processing on subsequent boots of the computer.
Note: The Config.sys, Autoexec.bat, System.ini, and Win.ini tabs intelligently identify settings and minimize the risks inherent in editing configuration files. These tabs use the following conventions:
? Unavailable check boxes indicate lines temporarily removed by System Configuration Utility.
? Settings used when the file?s Selective startup option is disabled are identified with a Windows logo.
? Previously removed lines are listed without a check box.
? Lines edited from within the tool are identified by a yellow pencil.
b. The SCU also lets you enable/disable items in your "Startup" group, (Click to see an example screenshot) and the RUN/RUN SERVICES keys of the registry.
c. The troubleshooting options available in the "Advanced Troubleshooting Settings" (click to see an example screenshot) dialog allow you to make extreme configuration changes and should only be used in special situations when nothing else seems to work, "Understanding the ATS". This MSDN article goes through and describe each of the eleven options on the ATS dialog and explains the types of situations where each setting will come in handy.
4. MSCONFIG Caveats:
a. WARNING: If the box labeled "ScanRegistry" is disabled by removing the check mark, the System Registry will not be backed up during the first daily boot [Q198864].
b. The article [Q187307] states that when viewing the Startup tab, [Microsoft System Configuration Utility (msconfig) tool] the seven default (six, if the initial Welcome screen is disabled) entries as show below that are installed by Windows Setup are missing or incomplete in the below registry address (separted in two sections). Additional entries may also appear on the Startup tab having installed other programs and applications.
? TaskMonitor -- C:\Windows\Taskmon.exe
? SystemTray -- SysTray.Exe
? ScanRegistry -- C:\Windows\Scanregw.exe /Autorun
? Welcome -- C:\Windows\Welcome.exe /R
? LoadPowerProfile -- Rundll32.exe Powrprof.dll,LoadCurrentPwrScheme - HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\Software\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Run
? LoadPowerProfile -- Rundll32.exe powrprof.dll,LoadCurrentPwrScheme
Note: LoadPowerProfile appears identically in both registry keys and on the Startup tab. The article [Q187611] states the reason LoadPowerProfile is started twice by design is to provide a power management profile before and after Windows loads. SchedulingAgent and LoadPowerProfile are machine services and LoadPowerProfile loads so that the default power management settings are available when Windows starts. It is loaded again after logging onto Windows to process preferences for individual users of the computer. If its use is not required, the entries for LoadPowerProfile is not necessary. Be advised however, there may be instances where an error message similar to the following is rendered even if LoadPowerProfile is not used, and can occur if the files Powrprof.dll in the Windows\System folder is missing or damaged:
? SchedulingAgent -- C:\Windows\System\Mstask.exe - HKLM\Software\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\RunServices
RUNDLL - Error loading powrprof.dll.
The system cannot find the file specified.
Error Starting Program
A required .DLL file, POWRPROF.DLL was not found.
c. If SystemTray is turned off, certain icons such as "Battery Meter", "PC Card Status", "Volume Control", "Quickres", "Task Scheduler", and perhaps others are simply not seen (ready accessible). It does not mean they are not loaded and/or running in the background. The fact is, they are simply not shown in the SystemTray if it has been turned off, [Q128129] and [Q245692]. Regardless, SystemTray is not a resident program and does not in any way interfere with running a ScanDisk or Defragmenter session.
d. The article [Q185564] states that when the check box next to a startup file (such as the Config.sys or Autoexec.bat file) is cleared, Apply is clicked, the check mark may subsequently reappear in the check box. This issue can occur if all of the lines in a startup file have already been disabled or if all of the lines in a startup file had been deleted. There must be at least one line (or one line that is not disabled) in the startup file for the System Configuration tool to process when performing this operation. The scenario that takes place:
Note: If a startup file exists, SCU will rename the file with a troubleshoot (.TSH) extension whether it contains processing information, or it was blank. SCU will then creates a placeholder (consists of no meaningful or information to process) startup file in its place similar to the following, and may experience an anomaly during boot where an MS-DOS blank screen (black) appears displaying information similar to:
C:\ T REm Shoot..... (perhaps with a path and program name)
rem *** DO NOT EDIT THIS FILE! ***
rem This file was created by the System Configuration Utility as
rem a placeholder for your CONFIG.SYS. Your actual CONFIG.SYS
rem file has been saved under the name CONFIG.TSH
e. The article [Q191547] states that when attempting to disable startup files, some or all of the files may still load and can occur if files have the read-only attribute set.
f. The article [Q177285] discusses the situation that when viewing the Startup tab, duplicate check box entries may be found and occurs when reinstalling or upgrading Windows while items on the Startup tab have been disabled. The "after-the-fact solution" is to click each check box to select it before performing this operation. The solution is to edit the system registry directly to remove duplicate items.
g. The article [Q194181] states that when a user clears the Load= or Run= check box on the Win.ini tab or the Load Startup Group Items check box on the General tab in the System Configuration Utility (Msconfig.exe), programs may still be run when Windows starts and may occur if the Win.ini file contains multiple entries for these lines. Edit the file manually, check and remove multiple lines as applicable.
h. When the computer is restarted after using SCU to disable the "System.ini" file, you may be prompted for a Windows password, or to change an existing Windows password. By Design, this occurs because of a possible [Password Lists] section in the System.ini file, [Q218630].
i. If you click "Selective Startup" on the "General" tab to clear, and then click to select the same check box and then click OK, you are prompted to restart your computer. When your computer restarts, "Selective Startup" may no longer be selected in SCU. Instead, "Normal Startup" may be selected. This behavior occurs because leaving all the check boxes under "Selective Startup" selected is the same as clicking "Normal Startup", [Q195042].
j. "Some System Configuration Utility Tools Do Not Work (Q192723)"
? Diagnostic Startup - Interactively Load Device Drivers And Software
? Enable Startup Menu
? Disable Scandisk After bad shutdown
? Disable SCSI Double-Buffering
Note: This behavior can occur if you use any version of the DriveSpace disk compression software to compress your hard disk in place (meaning that you compressed the entire hard disk). When you compress a hard disk in place, DriveSpace swaps hard disk letters after the initialization of the compressed volume file (CVF). Because the SCU is not aware of the drive letter swap, it edits the Msdos.sys file on the CVF instead of the Msdos.sys file on the host drive.
5. "How to Perform Clean-Boot Troubleshooting for Windows 98 (Q192926)", under the topic, "How to Use System Configuration Utility".
6. What are those dumb "Startup" tab items or those strange one which keep coming back?
Note: Some Ensoniq sound cards and perhaps some other devices, may have options in their properties which may circumvent any attempt to turn them off through the use of MSCONFIG or any other utility. Check their properties thought Device Manager and see if you can locate any settings which will cause their reiteration to be restored when trying to turn them off unconventionally. Options of this sort are simply reinstated if the program (software) finds that it isn't resident.
a. The "Fee" based "Startup Cop", PC Magazine's utility, version 1.01, provides a pretty comprehensive path to where items reside.
b. Written by Mike Lin, the utility "Startup Control Panel" is well worth investigating.
c. "Starter" is yet another free startup manager that allows you to view and manage all the programs that are starting automatically whenever Windows boots. It lists all the hidden registry entries, as well as the common Startup Folder items. You can choose to safely disable selected entries, edit them or delete them altogether (if you know what you're doing). Expert users can even add their own entries.
d. The following sites give a pretty conclusive view of what items are and you can use their recommendations at your own risk:
7. For additional information, the TechNet article "Troubleshooting MS Windows 98."