Manage Startup Items

Stephen Yagielowicz
Start up Microsoft Windows, and you've likely got dozens of applications running before you even open up a file. Many times users don't have much control over the programs that are running, particularly at startup.

Technically speaking, rebooting your machine should be smooth and routine, but some unwanted programs may be hiding out and automatically starting every time you hit the power button. Many of these programs are unnecessary, slow your system and consume resources.

Utilities exist to help monitor startup — here is a guide to the built-in tool in Windows 98, 98SE, ME, and XP called the "Microsoft System Configuration Utility" or simply "MSCONFIG."

1. Go to Start > Run 2. Type MSCONFIG. This launches Microsoft's System Configuration Utility. 3. Click on the Startup tab. This takes you to the Startup items. Some are necessary, but others are simply a waste of RAM.

The only startup items you must keep are: scan registry, task monitor, system tray, load power profile, and your antivirus program.

Be sure not to uncheck any of the above items. In XP all essential programs are loaded through Windows Services, meaning that any startup items you see are optional.

Uncheck any items that you want disabled, and for those that you don't recognize, the basic rule of thumb is — when in doubt, leave it on. Click Apply, then OK to make changes. Restart your computer to implement any changes.