What’s New in the Windows Vista System Configuration Utility?

The System Configuration utility is a very useful tool when it comes to troubleshooting configuration related errors on your Windows computer. Although this utility has been included with Windows Operating Systems since Windows 95, there are some very useful features added to it in Windows Vista that makes using it even easier and more effective. In this article, we are going to take a close look at some of the features of the Windows Vista System Configuration utility.

Traditionally, you may launch the utility by running the ‘msconfig’ command at Start > Run. However, in Vista you can use the Instant Search feature in the Start menu to make this process a bit faster. Type ‘System’ in the ‘Start Search’ box and then select ‘System Configuration Utility’ from the list that is displayed.

If you have worked with the System Configuration utility in older Windows operating systems, you will notice the following changes immediately in Windows Vista:

  • ‘Utility’ is no longer mentioned in the name of the tool.
  • SYSTEM.INI and WIN.INI tabs and the ‘Process SYSTEM.INI File’ and ‘Process WIN.INI File’ options on the General tabs do not exist. This happens because these files are not included in Vista.
  • The ‘BOOT.INI’ tab is changed to ‘Boot’.

General Tab

Not much has changed on the General tab, except the removal of options no longer required. Also, the ‘Use Original BOOT.INI option is changed to the friendlier ‘Use original boot configuration’. On this tab, you may select:

  • Normal Startup to load Vista with all normal device drivers and services.
  • Diagnostics Startup to load minimal services and drivers.
  • Selective Startup to load only selected services and startup programs.

You may choose any of the three options based on the type of troubleshooting you need to do.

Boot Tab

The options on the Boot tab have been changed from the complex syntax-based names in older versions to more user-friendly names. For example, /SAFEBOOT is now Safe Boot, /NOGUIBOOT is No GUI Boot and /BOOTLOG is Boot Log.

A new checkbox ‘Make All Boot Settings Permanent’ has been added on this tab. If you select this checkbox, the System Configuration does not keep track of the changes you make to Boot options. This means that you will not be able to revert the changes by selecting the Normal Startup on the General tab.

Even the ‘Advanced Options’ dialog that is displayed when you click the Advanced Options button comprises friendly names that make it easier to understand and use the utility. One additional feature has been added here as well. In addition to COM port, you can also use the USB port as one of the kernel debugging options.

Services Tab

The Services tab is the same as in Windows XP. On this tab, you can see the list of services that start when you boot your Windows computer. This tab also displays the ‘Running’ or ‘Stopped’ status of these services. While troubleshooting startup problems on your Windows Vista computer, you may enable or disable these services to identify the service that might be causing the issue. In Windows Vista, the System Configuration utility tracks the date on which a particular service was disabled.

Startup Tab

A list of applications that run at system startup are displayed on the Startup tab. In Windows Vista, two additional columns have been added to the list – Manufacturer and Date Disabled. The information in these two columns comes in handy while troubleshooting because they help in identifying the application and also the date on which it was disabled.

Tools Tab

The Tools tab is the new tab added to the System Configuration utility. On this tab you will find some useful information related to tools on your computer. You can also select a utility and click the ‘Launch’ button given at the bottom to start using them.

The System Configuration utility is a useful tool included in Windows Vista that enables you to perform diagnostics troubleshooting on different types of Windows problems, such as Startup problems and Program conflicts. In Vista, the utility comprises a few friendly features that makes it simpler to use. In addition to the System Configuration utility, it is recommended that you use a good registry cleaner tool, such as RegServe to maintain a healthy, compact and error-free registry. This helps in preventing several computer errors and enables you to enjoy a high-performance PC for a long time.