Built into Windows 98, 98SE, ME, and XP is a special tool called the "Microsoft System Configuration Utility" or "MSCONFIG." Designed to help you troubleshoot problems with your computer, MSCONFIG can also be used to ensure that your computer boots faster and crashes less.
Most people know that the more programs you have running on your computer at once, the more likely it is that your computer will either run slowly or even crash.
What most people don't know is that every time you boot your computer a whole bunch of "hidden" programs load in the background. Some of these hidden programs are essential, but most aren't. Turning off some of these hidden programs can significantly increase your computer's performance and reliability.
Go to: Start
Type MSCONFIG in the "Open:" box and then either press enter on your keyboard or click on the OK button.
This launches Microsoft's System Configuration Utility. Click on the Startup tab (the tab at the far right).
If you use Windows XP, you'll notice that the Microsoft System Configuration Utility screen looks a little different than the one in Windows 98, 98 SE, or ME. But it still works the same. Click on the Startup tab (the tab at the far right).
This takes you to a page with a list of "startup items." Startup items are programs that are automatically loaded every time you turn on your computer. Some startup programs are absolutely necessary, others are simply a waste of memory.
The only startup items you absolutely need are:
Your antivirus program, you won't have a hard time figuring out which one is your antivirus program. It should be pretty obvious.
Since you need these startup items to be running all the time in order for your computer to work properly, make sure there is always a check mark next to all of these startup items.
If you don't see one or two these items in your list of startup items, that's ok. For example, some people may not have a LoadPowerProfile while others may have two. The big thing to remember is that you don't want to uncheck any of these files if you have them.
The rest of the startup items are completely optional. Whether you leave these optional startup items on or turn them off is completely up to you.
A good rule of thumb is to disable only those programs that you recognize and don't need to have running all the time.
When in doubt, leave it on.
Check out Paul Collins huge "Startup Applications" list at http://www.sysinfo.org/startuplist.php
Remember, disable only those programs that you recognize and don't need to have running all the time. When in doubt, leave it on.
In Windows XP, all of Windows essential programs are loaded through something called "Windows Services." This means that most of the startup items you see in XP are completely optional and can be turned off. Still, disable only those programs that you recognize and don't need to have running al the time. When in doubt, leave it on.
When you are done
Click on the OK button.
A message will pop up telling you that you must restart your computer before these changes will take effect. Click on "Yes" and your computer will automatically reboot.
If you have Windows NT or 2000, you can download the official, Windows XP version of MSCONFIG at The Tech Guide