MSCONFIG Parameters

Microsoft System Configuration utility or MSCONFIG has been a very handy utility in almost all of Microsoft’s operating systems. MSCONFIG parameters give you a lot of options when trying to troubleshoot your computer or detecting an error.

Its main interface contains tabs that gives the users options to selectively and non-permanently alter several startup parameters. General tab on MSCONFIG allows you to have basic options for starting your computer. Three setting are included in this type including the default which is the Normal Startup type, and the other two which are the Diagnostic Startup and the Selective Startup.

The System.ini and Win.ini were included for legacy compatibility purposes and there is a very little chance that you will be using them.

The Boot.ini allows you to choose from several options on how you want to start your computer. You may choose to boot in SafeMode, or if you need access to the network, you may choose to boot using SafeMode with Networking. It is also recommended not to try or attempt to use MSCONFIG to edit Boot.ini unless you are directed by a Microsoft support professional or a technician to do so. The most valuable functions of the Boot.ini are explained below. You can choose to use any of these functions for troubleshooting purposes:

• /SAFEBOOT – suboptions for starting your computer
• /SAFEBOOT with MINIMAL – your computer will start in SafeMode
• /SAFEBOOT with NETWORK – your computer starts in SafeMode with Networking support

It also includes other options such as the:

• /SAFEBOOT with NETWORK – loads a generic TCP/IP network configuration
• /SAFEBOOT with DSREPAIR – repair Directory Services and Domain Controllers
• /SAFEBOOT with MINIMAL (ALTERNATE SHEL) – allows you to start your computer in SafeMode with Command Prompt
• /NOGUIBOOT – this allows you to start your computer without the VGA video driver
• /BOOTLOG – helps you debug and troubleshoot startup problems on your Windows
• /BASEVIDEO – uses a standard VGA video driver when you startup your computer
• /SOS – displays the driver names when loaded.

It also has an Advanced Options screen which gives you more choices for starting your computer, including the following:

• /MAXMEM – if you think your computer has a bad memory chip, you can use this switch so that the amount of memory that Windows XP can use will be limited
• /NUMPROC – it limits the number of processors used when you are in a multiprocessor system
• /PCILOCK – allows your computer to use the BIOS configuration for assigning system resources to PCI devices.
• /DEBUG – allows you to start your computer in debugging mode.
• /DEBUG with /DEBUGPORT -specifies the communications port to be used
• /DEBUG with /BAUDRATE – species the baud rate to be used
• /DEBUG with /CHANNEL – specifies the 1394 communications channel.

The Service Tab gives you the option to disable and enable services that loads with your computer during startup. This is very useful when trying to troubleshoot service-related errors or problems.

The Start Tab on the other hand allows you to prevent items from loading when you log in to Windows. You can simply deselect these items so that they will not start together with your computer when you boot it.

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