How to use System Configuration tool on Windows 10

Milan Stanojevic
by Milan Stanojevic
Deputy Editor
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  • System Configuration tool is an application designed to change various system settings. Using it, you can quickly change which applications or services start with Windows 10, so it’s often used when you have certain problems with your PC.
  • System Configuration is somewhat hidden, but you can still access it by pressing Windows + S key and typing system configuration in the search box. Then click it to open.
  • Windows 10 has a few usefull tools that you should learn about. All the articles on that are in the Windows 10 tools section.
  • If you have problems using a device or a tool, the How to guide category can be the starting point for you.
How can I use System Configuration tool on Windows 10

Just like previous versions of Windows, Windows 10 comes with many useful tools that regular users don’t know about.

One of these tools is the System Configuration tool, and today we’re going to show you how this tool works on Windows 10.

How do I use System Configuration tool on Windows 10?

System Configuration tool is an application designed to change various system settings.

Using this tool you can quickly change which applications or services start with Windows 10, so it’s no wonder that this tool is often used if you have certain problems with your PC.

We have to mention that the System Configuration tool isn’t a new tool introduced with Windows 10, in fact, it has been part of Windows since Windows 98.

Now that you know what is System Configuration tool, let’s see how we can use it on Windows 10.

How to work with System Configuration tool in Windows 10?

Just like many advanced Windows 10 tools, System Configuration is somewhat hidden, but you can still access it by following these steps:

  1. Press Windows Key + S and enter System Configuration.
  2. When the list of results opens, select System Configuration.

You can also start this tool by using the Run dialog:

  1. Press Windows Key + R and enter msconfig.
  2. Press Enter or click OK.

Most commonly System Configuration tool is used to prevent certain applications and services from starting.

This procedure is called Clean Boot, and by performing this procedure you’ll disable all third-party applications and services from starting.

This is extremely useful for troubleshooting computer problems because it allows you to find problematic applications and disable them if they are causing any problems.

General tab in System Configuration tool allows you to choose between three options: Normal, Diagnostic and Selective startup.

The first option will start Windows with all third-party services and applications enabled.

Diagnostic startup will start Windows 10 with only the basic services and drivers, similarly to Safe Mode.

This mode is useful if you’re suspecting that a third-party application or service is causing problems on your PC.

Selective startup option will allow you to choose which programs and services you want to disable or enable.

As for Selective startup, you can also disable all system services and startup items by unchecking the appropriate options.

Speaking of options, there’s also Use original boot configuration option available for Selective startup.


Boot tab allows you to change how Windows 10 starts, and if you have a dual-boot PC with multiple operating systems, you can choose the default operating system from the Boot tab.

You can also customize certain settings by clicking the Advanced options button. From there you can assign the number of CPU cores that you want a specific operating system to use.

Besides, you can assign the amount of memory that the select system will use.

There are also certain debugging options available, so you can use them if you have any issues with your operating system.


You can also boot to Safe Mode using System Configuration tool. To do that, simply check Safe boot option in Boot options section and select one of the available options.

The first option is Minimal and it will boot you to Safe Mode without networking while running only crucial system services.

Alternate shell option is similar to the previous option, but it will start Safe Mode with Command Prompt running.

Active Directory repair option is similar to the previous ones, but it has Active Directory available.

Lastly, there’s a Network option that will start Safe Mode but it will keep the networking enabled.


There are some additional options available as well. No GUI option will start Windows 10 without the splash screen at the beginning.

Boot log option will store all the relevant boot information to Ntbtlog.txt file thus allowing you to examine it later.

After your system boots, this file will be created in C:\Windows directory. Base video option will start Windows 10 in a minimal VGA mode.

OS boot information will show you each driver’s name as it’s loaded during the boot process.

Lastly, there is Make all boot settings permanent option and Timeout field. The latter is extremely useful if you have two or more operating systems installed on your PC.

By setting Timeout to any other value than zero you’ll have the specified number of seconds to choose between the available operating systems.

This is extremely useful if you have multiple operating systems and you switch between them frequently.

As for the Services tab, it holds the list of all available services on your PC. Keep in mind that this list includes both Microsoft and third-party services.

If you have any computer issues, it’s always recommended to disable third-party services and check if that solves the problem.

This tab allows you to turn off services one by one or to disable them all with a single click.

Keep in mind that disabling Microsoft services isn’t recommended, so be cautious while disabling your services.


Startup tab went through certain changes over the years and now it just shows Open Task Manager option.

In Windows 8, Microsoft decided to move Startup items from System Configuration window to Task Manager thus making access to Startup applications easier than before. To change Startup applications settings, do the following:

  1. In System Configuration tool go to Startup tab.
  2. Select Open Task Manager.
  3. Task Manager will now appear with the list of all Startup applications. Simply select the application that you want to disable and click the Disable button. Alternatively, you can right-click the application and choose Disable from the menu.

The last tab is the Tools tab, and by using this tab you can quickly access many other Windows 10 tools.

The list includes Computer Management, Command Prompt, User Account Control settings, Internet Options, Task Manager, System Restore, and many others.

To start any of these tools, simply select it from the list and click the Launch button.

You can also see the location of the tool in Selected command field along with any additional parameters that this tool might use.


As you can see, System Configuration tool is an extremely powerful and useful tool, and you can use it to troubleshoot computer problems or to speed up your system startup.

Keep in mind that System Configuration tool is designed for advanced users, so be cautious while using it.

FAQ: Read more about the System Configuration tool

  • What is system configuration tool?
The System Configuration tool, also known as msconfig.exe, is an application designed to change various system settings. Here’s our complete guide on how to use the System Configuration tool.
  • Where do I find system configuration?
You can start it by typing msconfig in a Run Windows. If that sounds too complicated, here’s our awesome guide on how to access the System Configuration tool.
  • What is configuration setting?
The configuration files are used to configure the parameters and initial settings for computer software. They are used for user applications, server processes, and operating system settings.

Editor’s Note: This post was originally published in November 2016 and has been since revamped and updated in March 2020 for freshness, accuracy, and comprehensiveness.

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