How-To Geek

Quickly Remove Items from Windows XP Startup

Do you sigh when it comes to starting up your computer because it takes what seems an eternity to boot up?  Here is a quick tip which should make your computer start up faster by removing startup items quickly.

Click on Start >> Run and in the run line type in “msconfig” hit enter or click on OK.

Next click on the Start Up tab.  By default all items are usually checked, but you can remove any items that you don’t feel need to be running when you start your computer.

After you have made your selection, click Apply, OK and Restart.  You should now notice a remarkable improvement in your start up time.

Brian Burgess worked in IT for 10 years before pursuing his passion for writing. He's been a tech blogger and journalist for the past seven years, and can be found on his about me page or Google+

  • Published 06/30/07

Comments (57)

  1. S.A. McIntosh

    I am really into want to speed up my computer’s startup time but since I’m a novice to advanced modifications, what services you should never ever disable or which ones that are seemly just not needed anymore to keep enabled?

  2. mysticgeek

    Services are completely different than the start up programs. There are services you can disable by typing services.msc into the run line. If your not comfortable changing these, I would leave them alone. As far as the start up programs are concerned, technically you don’t need any of them to start up on boot. You will probably want to leave your anti-virus program to auto start though… unless you can remember to start it up every time you log on.

  3. jeffrey

    well i did the following steps but after i do this and restart the comptuer this thing pops up and says to put on regular mode or something like that and the system config pops up again and it comes up everytime how can i fix this?

  4. kim SR

    yeah same question as jeffrey !. how to stop that annoying popup everytime u boot ur computer.

  5. Mark

    I am having a problem with Outlook attachments; my operating system is Windows XP. Well this is the problem…When I place an attachment in Outlook and send the e-mail the recipient is getting multiple copies of the same attachment. Recently I sent an e-mail with three attachments and there were forty copies of the attachments when the recipent recieved it. I wondering what the fix may be to this issue.

  6. Sam

    I have a ton of startup programs I don’t know how they got there but would like to remove what i don’t need
    for my startup.
    what do i do or how can I identify them. to make sure that I don’t remove things that will cause me problems?

  7. Sam

    I have a ton of startup programs I don’t know how they got there but would like to remove what i don’t need
    for my startup.I have X.P.Home vesion
    what do i do or how can I identify them. to make sure that I don’t remove things that will cause me problems?

  8. mysticgeek

    I would just disable all of them … and if something doesn’t start up such as your anti-virus program you can go back and recheck that item. If you move the Command tab over to the right you will see the path of the application which should help you determine what it is.

  9. Mohd Afzal

    To block the pop-up

    Click on the check box on that pop-up, newer show me this message again.

  10. gerry

    I followed the instructions and all was fine until I pressed restart and the it popped up with a message that changes was denied and that I need to log on as administrator. I checked the users and I am logged on as administrator. Any way I can deal with this?

  11. Dan

    How do I disable Outlook from starting up upon booting? I can’t find the outlook.exe program on the msconfig/startup list, or anywhere else, but it still opens on startup?

  12. stan

    you can easily disable start up progams fron “Defender” without geting the anoying message every start up

  13. Kami

    which programs should I leave runing on my start up, could you give m a list I have windows xp, I would really aprieciate it Thanks

  14. Mike

    I have been through the above process and get an error referencing that I must log in as an Administator, so I’ve gone into safe mode, logged in as the admin and receive the same must log in as administrator message.

    Any ideas?

  15. Imran

    Thanks, i just removed some unnecessary processes from startup.

  16. Tina

    ok Im in system configuration, but I dont know if there is things i am suppose to leave on, can you tell me what things i need to leave alone on startup, i know several i can remove, but some i’m not sure what they are and i dont know if it is safe to turn them off or not, is there certain ones you have to leave on.
    Tina Kelly

  17. Ben

    Hey !! My laptop used to play cd’s but not now.How do i go about finding out the cause and possibly the fix .. Thank you …

  18. rosie

    Hey Ben, you probably need to reload the drivers from you XP disk or what OS you have. You may check the control panel first to make sure you setting are on under volume control, It will tell you if it’s missing…

  19. almansori

    The only way to make computer with windows to boot very fast is to do this :
    Programs Should be at startup :
    1 : CTFMON.exe
    2 : If you are using Wirless connect to Internet add program for that wirless to startup
    3 : That is it ,
    Thank you
    Tobruk – Libya

  20. sparaxin

    Over the years I have come to the conclusion, windows will get slow gradually, and the only way out , is to install a fresh copy, nothing else really works.

  21. Carol

    check disk goes on when i bootup my computer, when it is finished i do not know how to get out of it so my windows will load, please help. I do not know why it does check disk everytime i boot up……..thank you.

  22. Roger

    Ok go to sysinfo and down towards the bottom you will see a search engine bring up your startup now go to the search engine and type in what you dont know what it is they will give you a guide such as u is up to user to leave on live spyware avg wireless keyboard stuff. x is not needed at all and N is needed like if you have a graphics card that is overcloced you leave that on. any more questions just email me but sysinfo should be helpful enough

  23. Roger

    oh and ctfmon has to do with international language text format. to completley get rid of it from coming back. start, control panel, regional and language options, languages, then make sure supplemental language support are both unchecked you will be suprised at the difference that makes. but if you go overseas or have foriegn language work then check them so your computer can read left to right and vertical.

  24. derek

    when my pc starts up in the black screen there is a line xp home which is highligted and the next line is xp pro how do i delete the second line as it is a pain having to click the xp home every time i start the pc???? your help would be appreciated

  25. deboh

    i think i disabled something and now my computer monitor wont display, do yu have an idea what i disabled and how to enable it when i cant even see anything on my screen



  27. Annette

    I have an HP Windows XP and have 34 items listed on start-up. I’m sorry but, I have no idea which items could and/or should be removed. Can you please email me for the list of the items? Thank You very much!!!

  28. shir

    thanks alt

  29. Cristobal

    Thanks, however now a pop up window is shown and requesting me to return start up as it was before … will see about that

  30. tom

    Re disabling items on startup: I tried it but on restarting I got a message about using “normal” startup, and then all the startup items are back. Do you have to use the “selective startup” instead for the disabling to work?

  31. tom

    Re disabling items from startup. I tried the suggestion of going to the system configuration and unchecking items, but on restart, I get a message advising me to click on “normal startup,” and then all the items come back. Do I have to click on “selective start-up” instead?

  32. Pat

    I have a program in my startup that I have tried to remove. I have done the msconfig, startup and unchecked the program, now here is where I run into problems. I do the apply and ok then restart, but when it restarts I get a message that tell me that My startup was in a dignostic or selective mode and I have to check the Normal restart. When I do that it rechecks the program. How can I stop that from happening?


  33. billybobbuddy

    FYI, another web site called BlackViper advises: never to use “msconfig” in the run box, because with msconfig and Hardware Profiles, you can disable services that may be vital to boot your system. With the management console (services.msc) you cannot. Also, msconfig, while unchecking the box, is disabling the service. So, he advises to type services.msc in the run box instead!

  34. ku


  35. Joseph Heger

    OK I don’t mind taking the plunge and turning things off but what SHOULD you turn off in start up the slowness is driving me crazy

  36. Joseph Heger

    Unchecked Realsched.exe from start and it was 100 times better

  37. Joseph Heger

    Don’t hit the normal restart just exit out

  38. P Acero

    Echo Tom’s comment above. No one addresses this issue: I unchecked a program I know does not need to run at startup. I get the message Tom got to either change startup to Normal or Disable the Configuration Utility which I assume means “don’t run anything in msconfig!” So there has to be a better way. The program I disabled is not a service.

  39. Mark Weintraut

    Hi, If checkdisk is running allot on startup, it is an indication that your Hard Drive is Failing, and to get your data BACKED-UP-NOW!!! (if it’s not already). If you want to Google for why, I understand, but please do your backups first! Or not, but don’t say I didn’t warn you. Good Luck!

  40. dave

    I uncheck the boxes and it tells me to log in as administrator. I am set up as administrator. What is the deal?

  41. BK

    As an alternative to msconfig (risky), I would agree with Billybobbuddy that you should instead, go thru Programs/Run then type in services.msc then click Okay. It will pop up a box with ALL the processes and as you click on each one, it will tell you exactly what it is for, and if it is something that needs to stay, it will tell you what will happen if you do disable it. You have the option of making most of these processes manual, or disabled. Much safer route, and you’ll know what these things are.

  42. BK

    Correction on May 23 post….should be Start/Run, not Programs/Run…..sorry :)

  43. The web tricks.

    thanx alot man,i was in trouble with windows startup time..u helped me…..!!!!!

  44. mansboy

    Thank you. Frostwire was taking forever to boot at startup.

  45. Yael

    The volume on my dell pc isnt working. In an attempt to speed up my computer I may have disabled the start up program that allows the volume to work. I cant hear any sound at all despite the volume icon showing the sound on the highest setting. Can anyone suggest trouble shooting for this problem? Im going bananas!

  46. Biju

    Actually in my system msconfig cant turnoff some of the startup programs it showing that login as administrator even after i have done so so is there any other way to do that if yes please mail me to biju619 at gmail i have tried msconfig startup in the start menu and services in the administrative tools is there any other way to disable start up if yes do inform me

  47. Almouee

    thanks a million :)

  48. Rameshkumar

    Can i disable antivirus program from windows startup options, is that good because people say most virus running from internet , please reply me . i checked out almost other applications

  49. the one

    The best and safest utility for controlling what starts when you boot is named “autoruns”. It was written by a company named Sysinternals who are so good they where purchased by Microsoft and are featured on the MS website. It shows everything that starts where msconfig only shows a few things. It also is a great tool for finding and removing virus’s and malware. Get it at this link.

  50. Gowthaman

    hi hello world :-)

    im doing my final year project now, dont disturb me pls:-)


    i will never buy an hp product ever again youre program stinks and it did not help me at all did you guys take a stupid pill when you made this ass holes

  52. raj

    reading some of these comments I wonder how any of them even work on a computer

  53. Sys

    OMG, Admin bug and everything else all in one fine little nub blog.
    Admin bug = Click ok, it says error “denied not an admin etc”, click ok on error then click cancel on the ok screen.
    The options will stick if you close out msconfig and then go back to it to observe your changes.

    This bug can easily be fixed by going to Settings\Control Panel then Remove a Program , then choose junk programs to remove that you no longer use. Google the name of each program to do 1 minute of research on each to see what people say about it on a tech site. One of your junk programs is affecting your admin rights but this error is safe and can be avoided above by clicking OK to make the changes then Ok on the Error then Cancel on the repeated 1st popup instead of ok this time. You will see Selective startup warning after you reboot. Click X or Cancel \ NO option when you see the selective startup warning but first checkmark the ” Never show me this stupid dialog again” button located in the lower left corner of this error. Goodluck noobs ! Take Care !

  54. stu

    these pc’s are rubbish!! slow and full of errors all the time. do yourself a big favor and bin them an buy a mac!!!! No hassle, no fuss, get 2 install dvd’s, easy to operate, no virus issues!! sweet!!

  55. vic jennings

    Hello everyone.

    Now totally bald after tearing my hair out–then found this site. Many thanks for all the help laid out, Ithink I fixed wife’s laptop with items on here.

    Thanks again.

  56. Royal Prince

    Great Tut Helped Me Thanks A Lot For THis:)

  57. John

    Does anybody ever get a straight answer to a question on this sight? So far, I have read the same question asked over and over, and the answers are vague at best, so I’ll ask again and see what happens. What programs are necessary to automatically run on startup?

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