Cleanup Your Startup with Free MSConfig Cleanup

MSConfig (System Configuration Utility), is a small Windows applet launched from the Run command, when the user enters “msconfig”.

MSConfig 5

MSConfig is a great checkbox driven tool for diagnosing Windows configuration issues – including system services, modifying startup programs,  gaining access to the Windows Boot Manager/Boot Configuration Data, and more.

As well, the Tools menu is a relatively complete set of system tools, as the following screen capture indicates.

MSConfig 4

I test a lot of applications, many of which like to auto start on boot up. At some point, after completing testing,  I need to stop these applications from auto starting or, I’d be facing some serious system resources issues.

It’s in this role of denying an application auto start privileges, that MSConfig gets a real workout around here. But, here’s the problem. While MSConfig will disable items, it continues to list them in the Startup tab as the following screen capture shows. Noticed the unchecked/disabled applications.

MSConfig 1

So what’s the big deal, I hear you saying? Well, here’s the deal – if you are a highly active user who likes to test software, the Startup tab can soon become an unmanageable mess. An unmanageable mess is an accident waiting to happen.

MSConfig Cleanup is a neat little free system utility that does just one job – it cleans out the Startup list. You’ll notice in the following graphic, the disabled items from the previous screen capture are listed and ready to be deleted.

MSConfig 2

The Startup list, after running MSConfig Cleanup, is shown in the following screen shot. Neat and tidy –  and unlikely to lead to confusion!

MSConfig 3

After you make the changes, your computer will need to be rebooted for the changes to take effect.

A caveat: Do not disable programs you don’t know. Do a search on Google if you are not certain what an application does.

System requirements: Windows XP, Vista, Win 7.

Download at:

If you found this article useful, why not subscribe to this Blog via RSS, or email? It’s easy; just click on this link and you’ll never miss another Tech Thoughts article.


Filed under downloads, Freeware, Geek Software and Tools, Microsoft, Software, System Tweaks, System Utilities, Utilities, Windows 7, Windows Tips and Tools, Windows Vista, Windows XP

20 responses to “Cleanup Your Startup with Free MSConfig Cleanup

  1. Mal Glass

    Tried MSConfig Cleanup that you wrote about. Did EXACTLY what you said it would.
    Thank you!

  2. Liam O' Moulain

    Handy little tool Bill.



  3. Mal

    Hey Bill,

    Now that looks like a nifty little tool. Will be trying that out.


    • Hey Mal,

      I’ve been using this tool since the Win 95 days, and because I’m constantly adding and deleting stuff, I couldn’t do without it. It’s a good one to have around.

      BTW, I saw the Aussie gov’t is thinking about getting into the business of spying on Internet users. Now that’s the thin edge of the wedge!



  4. egomoo

    thanks for share which is very useful.

    Do you know Safe Returner, Bill?

    It’s a smart version of AutoRuns which is a unique approach to fighting malware.

    I think you will like the idea of it.

  5. Mal

    Hey Bill,

    Yep, our “Comrade” Prime Minister is a real doozy. Next he will be deciding what coloured underwear we can put on and when we will go to bed. But, all is not lost, we are due an election in a few months, and it is looking likely he will be a one term wonder. Problem is, the other lot aren’t much better.


    • Hey Mal,

      I wouldn’t worry about it – there will always be ways to get around it.

      If China, and other human rights challenged countries can’t do it successfully, then…..



  6. Ranjan

    Thanks Bill. Tried it. It’s really a nice utility…
    Btw, why is the 6th entry in MsConfig Cleanup window totally blank…?

    • Hey Ranjan,

      I’m glad to hear you found it useful.

      There are some things I need to keep private when I take a screen shot so, in this case, line 6 has been blanked.


      • Ranjan

        Hehe… Okay Bill…
        Everyone has got the right to have privacy and it should be respected. 😉

  7. Bill,

    I noticed you mentioned you have been using this since the Windows 95 days… Just when I thought I have seen everything (in terms of software utilities) my Canadian friend throws a new one at me and a hard ball at that. I’m downloading this one NOW!


  8. Pingback: MSConfig Cleanup « TTC Shelbyville – Technical Blog

  9. Sandrina

    This is a great tip. I repeat this process every couple of weeks and there is always some unwanted process in there. 🙂

  10. Adrian

    I prefer to stick to full blown start-up managers.