How To Make Your Computer Boot and Run Faster with MSConfig

When Windows is first installed, it boots up and runs extremely fast. But as more and more software programs are added, things can quickly come to a grinding halt.

Even if your computer is brand new from the store, it’s almost a certainty the manufacturer has installed a lot of unnecessary programs that are slowing you down.

And whenever you install something on your computer, there’s a good chance startup entries are being created. Some of them are good, but others are a result of software developers’ laziness, large egos, or bad intentions.

Three Types of Startup Programs

One type of bad startup program comes from software companies who believe their software is the most important on your computer and can’t be bother to make it start up fast enough when called. They want it to start instantly, so they create a “helper” program to run in the background.

This pre-loads much of their program into your computer’s memory, so when you actually go to use the program, most of the work is already done. The problem with this is that it takes time to start up and uses up your computer’s resources.

These aren’t so bad when there are just a few of them, but they can quickly get into the double or triple digits, making your computer seem unusable.

Another type of unwanted startup program comes from malware, adware, and viruses. The distributors of these programs need their software to start automatically because either you would never start it on your own or because they want to track your usage and serve ads.

But that’s not to say that there aren’t good startup programs. Some programs you actually want to run in the background, all the time, without having to remember to start them up on your own. An example one such program would be Dropbox.

How To Determine What is Good or Bad

  • If you know what the program is, and you regularly launch it manually, then it doesn’t need to be a startup program
  • If you know what the program is, and you need it to always be available, then it should be a startup program
  • If you don’t know what the program is, look it up on Google, then refer to the two points above

How to Manage Your Startup Programs

Windows comes with a built in tool for easily managing some of your startup programs. I’ll first go over that, and then show you how you can take more advanced control of the situation.

  1. Click the Start button
  2. Enter “msconfig” into the search bar and press enter
  3. Go to the “Startup” tab
  4. Uncheck anything that you don’t want to run automatically

And there is one other place to check for basic startup program management:

  1. Click the Start button
  2. Click “All Programs”
  3. Find the “Startup” folder
  4. Delete anything that you don’t want to run automatically

Remember, if you don’t know what something is, search for it on Google to find out. You can also use the “startup” keyword (e.g. “Program Name Startup”) to get specific advice on if it’s a necessary startup item or not.

Getting More Advanced

In this article we’ve gone over the two easiest ways to manager your startup programs, but some could be hiding in other places.

It’s not advised to dig deeper on your own unless you’re very comfortable with the Windows Registry. Instead, I recommend using a software tool like AutoRuns (advanced) or CCleaner (beginner) to effectively handle this task.