Technology in terms you understand. Sign up for the Confident Computing newsletter for weekly solutions to make your life easier. Click here and get The Ask Leo! Guide to Staying Safe on the Internet — FREE Edition as my thank you for subscribing!

How do I get rid of this msconfig startup error after making changes?

There are items showing up on msconfig’s start-up list that I want to
disable. But, when I do so, and re-boot, I get the “System Configuration
Utility” error windows that seem to want me to go back to starting what Windows
wants me to start, not what I want to start.

How do I disable entries on msconfig and make Windows happy with my
decision?

Actually, Windows is quite happy.

The problem is simply that, like so many of us, it’s having a hard time
expressing itself clearly.

I’ll try to interpret.

]]>

The scenario that you’re in looks like this: you’ve run the msconfig utility and made a change to one or more of the items in the “Start Up” tab. Perhaps you’ve unchecked a few items that were running at start up that weren’t necessary.

“That fairly daunting message is not an error.”

When you press OK, msconfig then asks if you want to reboot, which you do.

After the machine reboots and you login, you’re presented with this message:

MSConfig message after a reboot

That fairly daunting message is not an error.

Instead, it’s msconfig trying to be helpful.

What it’s saying is simply this (I’m not trying to be condescending in my choice of words here – it’s a complex message, and I do want to present the concepts simply):

  • I (msconfig) see you used me to make changes prior to the last reboot.

  • Because of that I now automatically run when you log in.

  • I do that just in case the changes you made caused some kind of a problem.

  • You can undo those changes by selecting “Normal Startup Mode” after you press the OK button below.

  • If everything looks OK check this box and I won’t bother you again.

The magic of course is that last item. All you need to do is check the box that says “Don’t show this message or launch the System Configuration Utility when Windows starts”, and click OK.

It won’t bother you again. At least, not until the next time you make a change.

If you don’t check that box, this message will reappear after every reboot until you do.

What I personally find most fascinating is that this message no longer seems to appear in Windows 7. (Not sure about Vista, I didn’t test it.) Apparently the confusion you’re feeling was common enough to cause them to rethink the whole idea.

Subscribe to Confident Computing! Tech problem solving & safety tips & a weekly confidence boost in your inbox every week.

I'll see you there!

10 Reasons Your Computer is Slow

Slow Computer?

Speed up with my special report: 10 Reasons Your Computer is Slow, now updated for Windows 10.

NOW: name your own price! You decide how much to pay -- and yes, that means you can get this report completely free if you so choose. Get your copy now!

11 comments on “How do I get rid of this msconfig startup error after making changes?”

  1. Using msconfig to control startups is better than nothing, but it should only be used temporarily to debug, since it can cause some problems. Some software won’t uninstall properly if unchecked in msconfig, and if that software is malware its registry entries may be left intact, which can lead to reinfection after the malware’s removal. I learned this the hard way.

    Plus, msconfig doesn’t show all startup programs anyway.

    It’s better to remove the startups by editing the registry (if one knows how to safely do so), using a program like HiJack This! (once again if one knows how to safely use it), or best yet having a professional do it for you. Owning a computer is like owning a car or a boat – it takes some effort or money to maintain it properly.

    Still, a great article just like your others.

    Reply
  2. Thanks Leo. You answer all questions in plain jargon for non tech wizards and map (as above) everything out. Great. Thanks mate.

    Reply
  3. I second winpatrol. Very good software. I use it strictly for managing start-ups. I don’t even let IT run at start-up, just when I need it. It is a good program to monitor your system though.

    Using msconfig would be a last resort. Though I don’t think I’d ever have the need to use it.

    Reply
  4. The biggest problem for me is in a Corporate environment where users don’t have admin rights. I log into MSConfig with other privileges while another user is logged on and make my changes. The user then reboots, logs in again (usually the next morning), checks the box and clicks OK, but the error keeps coming back because you need admin rights to get rid of it for good.

    Reply
  5. Checking the box does not cause the message to quit appearing. It appears EVERY TIME I reboot. I wanna just chuck the laptop out the window. I am running Winders 7 64bit, and I’ve searched long, hard, far and wide for a solution to this annoying popup.

    Reply
  6. DJgrey……. have no clue as to why that would happen to you. One of the first things I do after a re-install is to head there and uncheck most of the startup’s haha. Have you ran sfc/scannow to look for/repair corrupted files?

    Reply
  7. This advice no longer applies as in Vista it pops up a small toaster message in the status bar – and even when you close it, it keeps popping up again at some interval. It’s hard to understand, at this point, why Vista even bothers to allow you to block something when doing so causes so much annoyance that it has to be undone. Im doing this for a “mum/dad” pC – the popup message blocks what they’re doing by hovering over all other programs. Unbelievably annoying & confusing & worrying to them. Im blocking Windows Installer Module because it wouldnt stop using 50% CPU for 24hrs a day.

    Reply

Leave a reply:

Before commenting please:

  • Read the article.
  • Comment on the article.
  • No personal information.
  • No spam.

Comments violating those rules will be removed. Comments that don't add value will be removed, including off-topic or content-free comments, or comments that look even a little bit like spam. All comments containing links and certain keywords will be moderated before publication.

I want comments to be valuable for everyone, including those who come later and take the time to read.