How do I turn off background programs that are interfering with system performance and software installation

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Built into Windows is a tool called the "Microsoft System Configuration Utility" or simply "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.

The more programs you have running on your computer at one time, the more likely it is that your computer will either run slowly or even crash. Every time you boot your computer (unless you are have been very careful about the programs you have loaded and websites you have visited) various "hidden" programs load in the background. Turning off some of these hidden programs can significantly increase your computer's performance and reliability.

Here is how to use MSCONFIG on Windows to disable some of the unnecessary programs that automatically load on start-up.

1. Go to [Start] and Run (under Windows Vista / 7 type MSCONFIG in the search window at the bottom of the Start Menu, skip step two with Vista / 7, when you hit Enter on the search MSconfig will come up in Vista / 7)

2. Type MSCONFIG and [OK] - This launches Microsoft's System Configuration Utility. Click on the Startup tab (the tab at the far right).

3. This takes you to a page with a list of programs that start when you boot your computer. Some startup programs are absolutely necessary, others are simply not.

The only startup items you absolutely need are:


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.

Some people may not have all these programs listed (depends on operating system and control panel settings), and that is ok. Just remember not to uncheck any of these files if you see them. The other startup items, however, are optional and your computer does not depend on them for proper operations. Whether you leave these optional startup items on or turn them off is up to you. NOTE THAT TURNING OFF all of your background programs will probably disable your virus checking software and software firewalls. Having your virus checker and/or software firewall disabled when connected to broadband Internet via DSL or cable modem is not recommended. If you disable your virus checker, you should also temporarily disable your Internet connection.

4. Click on the OK button.

5. 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 restart.


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