Thursday, September 15, 2005

General Windows Maintenance Tips (Part 4)

This is part 4 of the 'General Windows Maintenance Tips' article.
  • Removing Startup Programs: Some applications you installed can come with components that are designed to load in the Notification Area, or in the background as a service when Windows starts up. If you use these services a great deal, then it might be to your advantage to have this software run this way. Although, if you use these services once in a great while, then all these programs are doing is wasting system resources (like: memory and CPU cycles), making your computer run slower, and taking longer to fully boot up. On my personal systems, I really try to prevent these programs from loading if I don't need them. To help manage these startup applications Microsoft includes a utility called MSCONFIG which is designed to allow you to temporarily prevent these programs from loading for diagnostic reasons. Note: to permanently prevent these programs from loading requires removing their entries from the Windows registry. Warning: Disabling certain system services and startup applications, can disable Windows functionality. Use this tip at your own risk. Although, the good news is that MSCONFIG doesn't allow you to delete permanently these startup items. A good resource for managing system services is Black Viper Service Configuration page. To manage Startup application, check out PacMan's-Portal or AnswersThatWork.
    • From the Start menu, select Run...
    • Type "MSCONFIG" and press the Enter key
    • To disable startup services, select the Services tab. To disable startup applications, select the Startup tab.
    • Select the items that you want to prevent from loading, then press the OK button
  • Cleaning The Registry: When you install applications on your computer it places new files on the hard drive, and new entries in the Windows registry. Later when you uninstall an application, it may not remove all of its files from the hard drive, or its registry entries. To help find and remove these orphaned registry entries, there is a free utility called RegSeeker. It can scan your computer for these left over registry entries and remove them. Warning: Deleting registry entries even with specialized utilities can disable Windows or your applications. Use this tip at your own risk. It is also highly recommended that you backup your computer before using these utilities.

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