Windows Vista enables administrators to
configure startup settings using many of the same graphical tools that
Windows XP provides. Command-line tools for configuring startup tools
have been replaced with new tools, however, and you can no longer
directly edit the startup configuration file (formerly the boot.ini
file). The following sections describe several different techniques for
configuring startup settings.
1. How to Use the Startup And Recovery Dialog Box
simplest way to edit the BCD registry file is to use the Startup And
Recovery dialog box. To use the Startup And Recovery dialog box to
change the default operating system, follow these steps:
Click Start, right-click Computer, and then click Properties.
Click Advanced System Settings.
In Startup And Recovery, click Settings.
Click the Default Operating System list, and then click the operating system that you want to boot by default.
Click OK twice.
The default operating system will automatically load the next time you start the computer.
2. How to Use the System Configuration Tool
System Configuration Tool offers more advanced control over startup
settings, including some ability to configure the BCD registry file.
This tool is specifically designed for troubleshooting, and you can use
it to easily undo changes that you have made to the computer’s
configuration (even after restarting the computer). If you make changes
with the System Configuration Tool, it will reminds users logging on
that settings have been temporarily changed—thus reducing the
likelihood that settings will not be reset after the troubleshooting
process has been completed.
Some common tasks for the System Configuration tool include:
Temporarily disabling startup applications to isolate the cause of a post-logon problem.
Temporarily disabling automatic services to isolate the cause of a pre- or post-logon problem.
Permanently or temporarily configuring the BCD registry file.
Configuring a normal, diagnostic, or selective startup for Windows Vista.
To use the System Configuration tool, click Start, type Msconfig, and then press Enter. The System Configuration tool provides five tabs:
Use this tab to change the next startup mode. Normal Startup loads all
device drivers and services. Diagnostic Startup is useful for
troubleshooting startup problems, and it loads only basic devices and
services. Use Selective Startup to specify whether you want to load
system services or startup items.
Use this tab to configure the BCD registry file and startup settings.
You can remove startup operating system options, set the default
operating system, configure advanced settings for an operating system
(including number of processors, maximum memory, and debug settings),
and configure Windows Vista for Safe Boot or to boot without a
Use this tab to temporarily change the startup settings for a service.
This is an excellent way to determine whether an Automatic service is
causing startup problems. After you disable a service, restart your
computer, and determine if the problem still exists. If the problem
does still exist, you have eliminated one potential cause of the
problem. You can then use this tab to re-enable the service, disable
another service, and repeat the process. To permanently disable
services, use the Services console.
Lists applications that are configured to start automatically. This is
the best way to temporarily disable applications during
troubleshooting, because you can easily re-enable them later using the
same tool. You should not use the System Configuration tool to
permanently remove startup applications, however, because the System
Configuration tool is designed to enable you to easily undo changes.
Instead, you should manually remove the application or use Windows
Tool Provides links to other tools that you can start.
Win.ini, System.ini, and Boot.ini tabs were removed from the System
Configuration tool for Windows Vista because those files are no longer
Because the System Configuration tool is a graphical tool, it is primarily useful when Windows Vista is booting successfully.