Computers Windows

How To Configure Windows Xp Startup


PC users take for granted programs and services that are immediately available for use after starting up the Windows XP operating system. That's exactly how Microsoft designed the basic OS. Aspects of Windows are in use from the very moment you move your cursor with the mouse.

For example, most PC users are familiar with having to update Windows for both performance and security reasons. This feature of the operating system is called the Windows Update "service" and it automatically starts up and runs in the background whenever you start up the PC. Providing you don't disable automatic updates, this program will start each and every time you turn on the PC, even if you are not logged into a user account.

The problem for many users is when too many programs automatically start up in Windows XP. Most computer systems have limitations in the way of processing and memory. The more programs that are running simultaneously, the less resources you have available for processing commands and memory storage. If this is your problem, you can use a utility in the operating system that helps you reduce the workload in Windows XP at startup.

Step 1

Restart your Windows XP computer system using the shutdown options in the Start Menu. You can also press the power button on your desktop's tower or on the laptop's frame to shut down the system. The reason for restart is the close all programs on the computer at once, because it's hard to determine which are actually a part of initial startup and those that you may have manual opened after startup.

Log in to a user account after the Windows XP operating system comes back up.

Step 2

Click on the Start button in the bottom left hand corner of the Windows XP desktop. This reveals the Start Menu, which is usually the first place that users go on the PC after startup when they need to access a program on the All Programs menu. Click on the Run icon on the Start Menu, opening another dialog box on the computer screen.

Step 3

Type the following shortcut into the blank text field, which is the Windows XP System Configuration utility: "msconfig." Press the Enter key or click on the OK button to open this utility.

Step 4

Click on the General tab in the dialog box. You will see a section titled Startup Selection. You can choose between the Normal Startup, Diagnostic Startup or Selective Startup for your Windows XP system.

If you need to troubleshoot why Windows XP is suddenly starting slowly, you may want to use the Diagnostic Startup option. This essentially loads the basic and necessary programs and services get your PC running. It leaves out the third-party software and hardware programs that you may have bought and added later. This helps you determine if the slow startup is because of the operating system or another reason.

Step 5

Click on the Startup tab in the System Configuration Utility dialog box. Use this tab to see which programs are a part of the startup sequence. Uncheck any unnecessary programs.


  • You may have to log in as an administrator in Windows XP before you can change any startup programs.

Sources and Citations

  1. "Order of events in startup and logon." Microsoft Corporation. N.p., n.d. Web. 28 Feb. 2012. <>.
  2. "Start menu overview." Microsoft Corporation. N.p., n.d. Web. 28 Feb. 2012. <>.
  3. "Startup options." Microsoft Corporation. N.p., n.d. Web. 28 Feb. 2012. <>.
  4. "System Configuration Utility overview." Microsoft Corporation. N.p., n.d. Web. 28 Feb. 2012. <>.
  5. "To start a program as an administrator." Microsoft Corporation. N.p., n.d. Web. 28 Feb. 2012. <>.
  6. "To start the computer and use the Recovery Console." Microsoft Corporation. N.p., n.d. Web. 28 Feb. 2012. <>.
  7. "To start the computer in safe mode." Microsoft Corporation. N.p., n.d. Web. 28 Feb. 2012. <>.
  8. "To start your computer at a command prompt ." Microsoft Corporation. N.p., n.d. Web. 28 Feb. 2012. <>.



By Adri Buckminster, published at 03/01/2012
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