Question: A message pops up stating that program can’t be found when I start Windows. How can I clear these alerts? --Frankie
Answer: There’s a secret little program that you should know about called msconfig.exe. It’s a little utility in Windows 98, Me, XP and Vista that helps you manage which programs get started when a Windows computer starts up.
It’s not included in Windows 2000 or Windows 95, but you can copy it from a Windows 98 computer if you like. I haven’t tried to do that, but I understand it works pretty well, although not all functions work properly.
To access msconfig.exe in Windows 95, 98, ME, and XP, click the Start button, select Run, and type msconfig, then click OK. A box will open up with the title System, Configuration Utility.
The box has six tabs, each one dealing with a phase of a computer startup process.
Begin with the Startup tab. This shows all programs that are launched when Windows starts. Go through the list and find the program that is referenced in the error message you want to get rid of, and uncheck the box next to it. That will clear that error. (See how to use msconfig in a TechnologyTips video).
This is also a good way to stop programs that start when Windows boots and stay running in the System Tray (in the bottom right hand corner of the screen).
Unchecking items in the program won’t remove the programming code on your computer. It’s best to first go through the Add/Remove Programs applet in the Control Panel to see if you can find the program and remove it, since this will both stop it from running and clean it from your computer.
if you have trouble locating the program to remove it, however, the msconfig utility will at least turn the offending program off.
A note of caution: Never uncheck the references to System Tray or Load Power Profile.
If you’re getting errors before Windows starts, then the line of programming that is causing the problem can be found in either the Config.sys tab or the Autoexec.bat tab. These are two text files that were used to configure a DOS or older Windows computer when it boots.
If you have a newer computer, you generally don’t have to worry about these, but if you’ve had an older program installed and it has been removed, sometimes an error will be triggered because a line of programming in these files is failing to do its job.
Win.ini and System.ini are files that are checked when Windows starts up. Win.ini contains settings for how Windows is displayed and how it behaves when it is started. Generally, settings in Control Panel can be used to change these items, but you can use msconfig to make custom changes if you know what you are doing.
Again, proceed with caution when sticking this dangerous tool into the Windows engine -- you don’t want to lose any digits.
If you get a device driver error on Windows start-up, you can turn the error off in these files if there is no reference to the offending program in the Startup tab.
If you want to put a shortcut to msconfig on your desktop, right-click on the desktop, click New, then Shortcut. Then browse to C:windowssystem, find msconfig.exe, and double-click it. Then click Next, name it, and click Finish. A shortcut to the program will appear on your Windows desktop so that you can easily access the program whenever you like.
More information about msconfig.exe can be found on the Microsoft Support website: How to Troubleshoot Using the Msconfig Utility with Windows 98.