Safe Clean Booting


The purpose of this article is to provide the computer user with a method to trouble-shoot performance by optimizing the operating system start-up protocol.
This article differs from Microsoft KB 310353 and KB 929135 by providing the computer user with the additional steps to restore the system, identify problematic program(s) and avoid reinstating questionable start-ups.



Problem :  There can be non-essential services and programs configured to startup automatically with the operating system that impede performance.
Solution : Create a clean start-up environment by disabling non-essential second and third-party programs and services from automatically launching and running in the background. 




  • Log in as “Administrator” or as a user with “Administrative privileges”
  • Make a System Restore point.  (See Note 1)
  • Launch the MS Configuration Panel by clicking Start > Run or Search > MSConfig
  • Go to the Start Tab and jot down on paper the entries that are checked (Enabled). (See Note 2)
  • Next uncheck them (Disable) and click Apply
  • Go to the Services tab and check (Enable) the  “Hide” Microsoft Services option.
  • Next jot down on paper all entries that are checked (enabled)
  • Then uncheck (Disable) them.
  • Click Apply and Reboot.

If the problem is resolved after rebooting, then the faulty service(s) and or startup(s) were successfully disabled from launching at Windows start-up.  The start-up is now optimized because without the additional data, there is now more unused memory for the system and the cpu has less data to process.  Therefore, you should make a system restore point at this time to record the clean and functional state of your system.  

The task at hand now is to review your jot downs and determine which should be re-enabled and which should remain disabled.

To test the entries you jotted down, simply re-open the MSConfig panel and check (enable) one or two of the entries.  Then apply and reboot and use your system for a few hours or days until you feel confident that your system is stable.   If your system remains stable, then proceed with enabling a couple more entries and test drive your system again.  And repeat this process to test all of the entries that were installed and running.

If however, your system becomes unstable or produces errors after re-enabling any of the entries you jotted down then it is likely you found the problem.  In which case you can undue your recent action. Then reboot and re-test your system to ensure that it is stable again.  

Afterwards review that entry and determine its importance for you and your system.  Sometimes the faulty entry can be corrected by re-installing its parent program or acquiring an updated version of the program that includes new fixes and updates since its original release.  On the other hand, if the entry belongs to a program you don’t need, then keep it disabled and uninstall its parent program via Add / Remove Programs control panel.  

There is however another scenario whereas the parent program is needed but it’s helper entries inside MSConfig are not.  See Tip 1 for additional information on this.


If however you successfully disable all non Microsoft programs and services but the issue still persists, then my suggestion is to leave the computer in a clean boot state while excercising  other trouble shooting methods.


Note 1 – The Windows System Restore feature will record the current state of the system and the registry.  In the event the computer does not start after modifying the system, the restore point you just made can be re-instated via safe mode.  Click one of these links for help on Safe mode XP , Safe mode Vista  or  Safe mode Win7.

Note 2 – The MSConfiguration Panel has a tab called “General” and provides options to automate the tasks of disabling and enabling services and programs.  However, it is “strongly” recommended to avoid these options because they are a “all or nothing” feature.  For example if you enable the “Normal Startup” , the option will enable “ALL” services and startups regardless if any of them are corrupted, faulty, out dated, duplicated, previously disabled, et. al..    And if you select “Selective Startup”, then this will not allow you to know or jot down entries that are currently enable in order to review and test their functionality. 


Tip 1 – Scrutinize any entry that infer to auto, scheduling, updating, registrating or checking.  These are helper programs for the parent/main program and automatically connect to the home base via the internet.  These entries are not needed and might be considered spyware. They may also prove to be problematic because not only are they are all fighting for an internet connection at the same time but if the home site doesn’t respond to their request / check in, then they will continously busy out the internet connection until they get a response or they time out and release your system.


Tip 2 – If you have XP, you can upgrade your MSConfig Panel with this:

Get involved and Ask Microsoft –  Send some feedback to Microsoft and ask them to add an important and long overdue feature to the MSConfiguration Panel.

 Copy the statement below and paste it at this link:



“This is feedback regarding a design improvement for the msconfig panel in xp, vista, win7, 8, 9 10 ……

Problem: The operating systems can become unstable if the computer user follows your kb’s and enables “Normal Startup” under the General Tab – believing it to be a safe option via Microsoft’s KB310353  and by Microsoft Support Personnel.

If  All Startups are enabled by the use of the option, then all previously disabled, unwanted, corrupted, duplicated, expired services and startups will be enabled and the system may fail to start.
Solution 1: At this time the option to delete/remove services and startups should be added to the msconfig panel services and start tab’s.
Solution 2: KB 310353 and others needs to be amended by adding a warning about enabling Normal Startup”


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