Using msconfig can help speed up a slow computer. Windows becomes more bloated as more programs are installed – so a computer becomes slower. This is made worse by so many programs that add their own processes at Startup e.g. ones that appear in the system tray at the bottom right of the screen.
Every time you start your computer many unwanted processes also start up in the background, sucking power from your computer processor and memory. Think of it like driving a car with 4 passengers in – all the time. If you then drive it by yourself you will find the car to be quicker and less sluggish to move off.
Fortunately there is a quick win available to weed out these unnecessary processes and speed up your computer – a command built into all versions of Windows from XP onwards: msconfig.
Msconfig is a command that runs the System Configuration utility. In the Startup section you can see every process (program) that starts up with your computer (you may be surprised by how many there are) and can easily stop unnecessary processes from starting automatically in future.
To access it, press the Windows key on your keyboard and the R key at the same time to bring up the Run window. Type the word msconfig into the Run window and click on OK to launch the msconfig Utility. The General tab is selected by default (do not make any changes here) – select the Startup tab to move to a list of Startup items similar to the example below:
Your own Startup items will be specific to your computer. A tick next to an item means that it is currently set to start up when Windows starts and therefore use up some of your computer’s valuable resources, slowing it down – if this is the first time you have used msconfig it is likely that all items will be ticked.
To stop a process from loading up with Windows, just click in the little box to untick it. Our test computer had 31 items of which we unticked 20 to stop them from running when Windows starts – that is 20 programs less for Windows to waste time loading up and running.
Which Processes To Untick? There can be no definitive list as it depends what programs you have installed but, even if you switch off a process that you later find does need to run at Startup, you can always run the msconfig utility again and retick it to switch it back on. Here are some general guidelines:
- Do not untick antivirus/firewall or printer processes.
- If an item has no name or Command next to it (like the third item from bottom in our example) it should be safe to untick.
- The actual process name is the last past of the Command text e.g. in our example above the first 2 processes are called jusched.exe and ctfmon.exe
Tip: If you can’t see the whole of the Command text to find out the process name then double click on the small vertical line separating the Command menu from the Location menu to increase the width of the Command section.
Often the location of the process (shown in the Command text) will give you a hint as to what the process is – in our example above you will see that jusched.exe relates to Java Update (this process regularly checks if there are any security updates to Java so is a good thing to leave running) and SetPoint.exe relates to Logitech software (installed with a Logitech keyboard/mouse to provide extra functionality).
If you are unsure what a process is, some quick research will usually indicate if it is safe to untick – you can find info on most common processes by putting the process name (including the .exe) into the Process Name search box at PCPitstop. If you are unable to find any useful information on a process then it is probably safest to leave it alone.
What Are the Most Common Processes to Untick? The following are some of the most common processes that are typically safe to unticked:
Once you have finished unticking unnecessary processes, press OK to display a confirmation message – press Restart or Exit Without Restart if you prefer but note that your changes will not occur until the next time you do restart your computer. The next time you restart your computer you will see a confirmation message:
Tick the box to not display this message again then press OK. If you find that any programs are not working as they should or you want to switch certain processes back on then just run msconfig again and re-tick them.
Tip: unticking a process simply stops it from loading up with Windows every time you start your computer – it does not uninstall/remove the actual program. E.g. if you untick the Skype process then Skype will no longer start every time you start Windows but you can still run Skype by just opening it from your Program list (or desktop shortcut if you have one) in the usual way.