Troubleshoot problems with Windows in System Configuration
Sometimes, if Windows is particularly slow or refuses to start properly it may be because a piece of software that loads automatically is causing problems.
You can get around this by starting Windows in Safe Mode (press F8 after the computer beeps on startup), but if you can get Windows to start up once there’s a far simpler method: the System Configuration tool.
It’s easily found in Windows 7 or Vista by typing system config into the Start Menu search box. Windows XP users can usually run it by clicking Start, clicking Run, and then typing c:\windows\pchealth\helpctr\binaries\MSConfig.exe in the box that appears and clicking OK.
Once started, this powerful tool lets you choose exactly what happens each time Windows starts up. The Startup tab lets you disable various other utilities that would normally start with Windows, allowing you to weed out any you suspect of being unstable, but you should use care when doing this.
We would recommend caution with options on the Services tab, as unticking these can cause more trouble than they fix. Perhaps most useful is the Tools tab, which shows a complete list of diagnostic tools in Windows, many of them hidden (and several listed in this article). Choose one and click Launch to use it.
the Windows Command Prompt
Use Ping to troubleshoot your network
Get information about your PC using the System Information
Clear your PC of clutter safely with Disk Cleanup
Revert to previous settings with System Restore
Identify memory problems with Memory Diagnostics
Use Windows Resource Checker to replace corrupted software
Use Remote Assistance to see another computer
Speed up your hard disk using Disk Defragmenter
Baffled by jargon? See our free online Jargon Buster.
Updating your subscription status