Select the product you need help with
- Internet Explorer
- Windows Phone
- More products
How to troubleshoot configuration errors by using the System Configuration utility in Windows XP
Article ID: 310560 - View products that this article applies to.
This article was previously published under Q310560
This article describes how to troubleshoot configuration errors in Windows XP by using the System Configuration utility (Msconfig.exe). The System Configuration utility helps you find problems with your Windows XP configuration. It does not manage the programs that run when Windows starts.
For more information about disabling or permanently removing the programs that run when Windows starts, click the following article number to view the article in the Microsoft Knowledge Base:
(http://support.microsoft.com/kb/270035/ )How to disable programs that run when you start Windows XP Home Edition or Windows Vista
These methods are intended for advanced computer users. If you are not comfortable with advanced troubleshooting, you might want to ask someone for help or contact support. For information about how to contact support, visit the following Microsoft Web site:
http://support.microsoft.com/contactus/The System Configuration utility automates the routine troubleshooting steps that Microsoft Customer Support Services professionals use when they diagnose system configuration issues. When you use this utility to modify the system configuration, you can select check boxes to eliminate issues that do not apply to your configuration. This process reduces the risk of typing errors that you may make when you use any text editor, such as Notepad. You must be logged on as an administrator or as a member of the Administrators group to use the System Configuration utility.
When you use the System Configuration utility, you can easily reset or change the configuration settings in Windows to include preferences for the following files and settings:
Method 1: Diagnostic and Selection startup modes
Diagnostic startupDiagnostic startup enables Windows to determine the basic device drivers and software to load when you start Windows. When you use this method, the system temporarily disables Microsoft services such as Networking, Plug and Play, Event Logging, and Error Reporting. Also, you permanently delete all restore points for the System Restore utility.
Note Do not use this method if you want to save your restore points for System Restore or if you must use a Microsoft service to test a problem.
To perform a diagnostic startup, follow these steps:
Selective startupSelective startup enables you to select the files and the settings that you want the computer to load when you restart the computer. Select from the following options:
To perform a selective startup, follow these steps:
Change individual file settingsIf you know the different settings in each configuration file, you can enable or disable individual settings in the file that has the tab for that file in the System Configuration utility. To prevent individual items in a configuration file from loading when you restart your computer, follow these steps:
System.ini and Win.ini optionsThe SYSTEM.INI and WIN.INI tabs in the System Configuration utility have the following options:
Note When you click to clear a check box for an item or a line, the Selective Startup option on the General tab is automatically selected.
Manually extract a fileIf you have to fix a corrupted file, extract the individual Windows file from the CAB files. To do this, follow these steps:
Return to normal startupAfter you complete your troubleshooting and fix your configuration, return to a normal startup. Follow these steps:
Method 2: System restoreYou can use the System Configuration utility to perform a system restore. There are three possible restore points:
To perform a system restore, follow these steps:
For more information about advanced troubleshooting for general startup problems in Windows XP, click the following article number to view the article in the Microsoft Knowledge Base:
308041For more information about how to use System Restore to restore Windows XP, click the following article number to view the article in the Microsoft Knowledge Base:
(http://support.microsoft.com/kb/308041/ )Advanced troubleshooting for general startup problems in Windows XP
306084For more information about how to configure Windows XP to start in a "clean boot" state, click the following article number to view the article in the Microsoft Knowledge Base:
(http://support.microsoft.com/kb/306084/ )How to restore the operating system to a previous state in Windows XP
310353If the articles listed here do not help you resolve the problem or if you experience symptoms that differ from those that are described in this article, search the Microsoft Knowledge Base for more information. To search the Microsoft Knowledge Base, visit the following Microsoft Web site:
(http://support.microsoft.com/kb/310353/ )How to configure Windows XP to start in a "clean boot" state
http://support.microsoft.comThen, type the text of the error message that you receive, or type a description of the problem in the Search Support (KB) field.