How To Change your Startup Menu in Windows Vista

When you buy a new computer, chances are that it comes with various default programs and applications. Some of these are useful, such as antivirus software and security suites. Some are intrusive, though. In most cases, these take up memory, hard drive space, and—worse—these take time to load. These are often called “bloatware” or sometimes even “crapware” because they are installed by default, but you might not want them to start up with your computer.

Ideally, Windows Vista and Windows 7 will take about one and a half minutes to boot up from a cold start. This means that within that period of time, you should have a working desktop, and you can already launch applications that you want. However, with the bloatware that comes with new computers, some take two to three minutes to boot up. Some might even take longer. This can cause serious productivity losses if you want to be able to work right away, after hitting the power button.

You can either uninstall them from the Control Panel, but you can also remove them from being automatically started up. Fortunately, changing startup items in Windows Vista is simple, with the aid of a few built-in Windows applications.

  • First, you can use the MSConfig application to change the startup items. This application is actually included with Windows XP onwards, so you can fine-tune or tweak your system as necessary.
  • Click the Start menu and then “Run …” Then type in “msconfig.exe” and then press enter. Alternatively, you can hit Windows key + R to bring up the Run window.
  • By default, User Account Control is active, so Windows Vista will ask you to confirm if you want to run MSConfig. Click “Continue” to give Vista permission to run the application.
  • Click the “Startup” tab. You will see a list of applications that run with startup by default. The ones with checkmarks start when you open your computer. Uncheck the applications you want to disable. Then, click OK or Apply. You can exit without restarting if you don’t need to reboot for now.
  • Additionally, you can also look for the Startup menu. Simply right-click on the Start Menu, and then click “Explore” or “Explore All.” Browse down to “Programs” and then “Startup.” Chances are, if you have already removed items using MSConfig, they will no longer be here.
  • If you want applications to run when you start Windows, you can copy shortcuts to the Startup folder.
  • If you want to re-enable applications with MSConfig, simply check the checkbox so they will run on startup.

When changing your startup items, take care not to remove essential components of your computer. For example, your antivirus software would usually be included in the startup items on MSConfig, unless it is listed as a Service. Disabling it on MSConfig will render your security weak upon startup. If you are unsure, try disabling the items on your MSConfig startup tab one at a time, so you can see the effect of taking out certain programs, before choosing to customize your startup.


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