Where is the [b]real[/b] Start Menu on Windows XP?

Mr Happy



Thats better. Now here's the prob.

Mrs Happy, has a Sony Vaio lap top, a couple of years old but she's a canny old bird and won't install stuff on it. Even Window's updates get serious consideration on whether she is a in a pro-Bill Gates mood or not.

Anyways, we have the following problem.

When she restarts her lappy toppy, I would say it takes about 10 minutes to cycle through all the programs to get to the stage where she can launch an app.

She believes "its because so many programs are trying to log onto the web and each one has to fail before allowing the next one to try and fail, the wireless starter thing however is at the back of the queue" (a sort of run before walk situation). After 10 mins she can start using apps (including web apps).

Now, we know that the Docs and settings/All User/Start Menu lists about three programs. But I know that somewhere, out there, is a real start menu, the one that tells norton (piece of sh*t), hardware and other stuff to start up. So my question to arrse's combined intellect is:


I don't think it is in the registry - or am I being wrong here?

Thanks in advance,

Mr H
Couple of helpful sites


Using the system configuration utility
Taking the previous steps will stop the obvious programs from running at start-up, but it won't kill them all. The best tool for disabling hidden programs that run on start-up is the System Configuration Utility. To run it, type msconfig at a command prompt, and press Enter. (If that doesn't work, first do a search for msconfig.exe; when you find the file, double-click it.)

To stop a program from running at start-up, go to the Startup tab in this utility, and uncheck the box next to the program. It can sometimes be difficult to understand what programs are listed on the Startup tab. Some, such as America Online, are clearly labeled. But often, you'll see a phrase or collection of letters, such as fs20. That's the name of the running file--such as fs20.exe, which is Free Surfer mk II, an excellent free pop-up killer.

To get more information about a listing, expand the width of the Command column near the top of the Startup tab. Expand it enough and you'll see the start-up command that the program issues, including its location, such as C:\Program Files\Free Surfer\fs20.exe. The directory location should be another hint to help you know the name of the program.

When stopping programs from running at start-up, it's best to stop them one at a time rather than in groups. You want to make sure that you're not causing any system problems by stopping them. So stop one, then restart your PC. If it runs fine, then stop another and restart. Continue doing this until you've cleared all the programs you don't want to run automatically.

Each time you uncheck a box and restart your PC, you'll get a warning that you've used the System Configuration Utility to disable a program from starting automatically. If you don't want to see that warning, disable it by checking the box in the dialog itself.

After you've used the system configuration utility to identify programs that run on start-up, you may want to try disabling them from with the programs themselves. So run each program that starts automatically, and see if you can find a setting that allows you to prevent it from running on start-up.
or here


First and easiest way to see if it is what you want is to reboot and hold down the SHIFT KEY while it boots, see if it is any faster as this stops it loading/executing progs during start up.

Have fun. :)


It sounds like you need to defrag your computer.
You’ll need to do this multiple time, you can stop when the defrag completes in the same time each time its run.
Once you’ve reached this point you should remember to run defrag once a month.

Next install CCleaner


This tool will clean all the useless files off your PC which are slowing it down.
It will also fix all your registry errors and allows you to see what programs are running on startup, it’ll also allow you to stop them running on startup.
Don’t remove anything from startup that you don’t recognise, sods law it’ll be something important.

Alternatively you could type MSCONFIG in Start > Run to see what apps are running on startup.
A lot of this stuff lives in the registry, so if you're happy wading about in regedit, the key to look for is usually HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Run - lots of startup items live there.

Although like Goku says, it's probably worth defragmenting the hard drive too.
Goku said:
Alternatively you could type MSCONFIG in Start > Run to see what apps are running on startup.
Bloody Hell ... there's dozens of the blighters. 8O

Why don't they make these pop-ups capable of being full-screen, so you actually read what they all are?
I like posts like this, they make me even more smug about using a mac, press start and hey presto! you can do stuff in seconds.

My windows based work laptop is a different story though, even with all this core-duo thingy, superdooper ram, and terrabytes of hard drive I still have time to make a brew, nip to the shop, kick the wife and peruse a few old copies of Escort between pressing "start" and actually being able to use it. Heap of expensive rubbish, useless OS.

Edited to add. This laptop is two weeks old with the minimum of programmes..just Office and the like.
First of all, if the machine is 2 years old, has she defragmented the drive recently? A badly fragmented drive can slow startup a LOT!

As for programs running at startup: These might be visible in the (normal) Star menu under All Programs/startup. You can make any program start when the machine starts up by putting a shortcut to it in there. But a lot of programs do start themselves from the registry. To see what's there you can either use msconfig or something like Spybot which gives easy access to the entries.

To use msconfig, from the start menu click on "run" and type in msconfig. This lets you see and alter what services and apps run when the machine starts but gives very little info about what they are.

Personally, I prefer using Spybot. For this, you start Spybot and then, from the top menu select Mode/Advanced mode. This will give you options on the left of the window for "settings", "tools" and "info and licence". You need to click on the "tools" section and then "system startup".

This will give you a list of the programs that are starting automatically. By clicking on one you can get a little info about what it is - for example, mine is showing IAAnotif which, when clicked on, tells me that it's part of Intel Application Accelerator and may be necessary.

You can disable programs from starting by un-ticking the box to their left or remove them (from the automatic startup) by highlighting them and clicking Delete at the top of the window.

It's generally a lot safer to disable rather than delete - at least when you're finding out what's what. You can always go back in and delete something once you know that disabling it hasn't broken anything!
Stokey said:
blue_sophist said:
Why don't they make these pop-ups capable of being full-screen, so you actually read what they all are?
Because you would delete most of them if you were aware of their existence.
So why are they all there?
Does Gates get royalties for them being in my Start menu? :lol:
1. Click on the start menu.
2. Click on "Run" and a dialog box will appear.
3. In this box type "regedit" and press enter. The registry editor will appear.

The registry editor looks like a normal file explorer with folders on the left pane and what looks like files (They aren't files though, they are registry keys) on the right pane.

Be careful what you do here. Messing about with the wrong bits of the registry can render your computer unusable.

In the folders on the right, you need to navigate to the following folders...


Inside these two folders are the keys that tell which software to start when Windows starts. If you work out what most of them are you can delete the ones you don't need to start.

If you post a list of them I can tell you which ones you can safely delete.

Mr Happy

Hey guys thanks for this.

I should add that CCLeaner, UltimateDegrag I shoved on her machine whilst she wasn't looking and they've not made a dent. Its not the day-to-day functioning of the machine it is the start up process that is driving her nuts.

Therefore I shall be try SpyBot later today (step 1). If that fails, I'll consider MSCONFIG or REGEDIT. Not sure what the difference as they sound the same from folk here. But those can be step2.

I've got a 4gb RAM server PC MF (Muthafcker), 2TB, quad blah blah PC myself so I am a little aware of whats what so when I say her start up is clearly fcked I am certain it is her start up - I assume by some or one programme freezing all activity until its finished (can't even launch task mgr).
smash it with a hammer and claim on the insurance, err, what I mean is it would be a pity if anything happened to her machine...

(only kidding folks as that would be naughty and none of us would condone that, would we?)
All good advice above but be cautious using both Regedit and msconfig.

Personally I only restart my lappy about once a week and use the hibernate function at night. Restarts in the morning in about 30 secs.
MSCONFIG is perfectly harmless, and I'd recommend it.

Editing the registry can trash your PC, unless your're an IT geek like me ;)
One thing to make sure is that you don't disable anything that actually is useful. If in doubt a quick search on Google will tell you what the obscure name actually is, and whether you need it (another reason I like the Mac - program names that almost make sense!).
If entries in the start menu are missing then it sounds like "Personalised menus" is activated, the annoying fecker hides stuff you dont use "often" (try more then once every few days), it wound me up to no end when i first moved to XP.

To turn it off:

-Right click the task bar (bottom of screen)
-Select Properties
-Select "task bar" at the top and untick "Hide inactive icons" (lets you see stuff loading thats not activated
-Select "Start menu" at the top then "Customize"
-Scroll to bottom and untick "use personalized" menus
-Hit ok and see if thats them sorted

Also to remove programs also try "Add remove programs" in the control panel. Also id avoid Regedit if you dont know exactly what is installed (might delete the wrong thing). Finally get CCleaner, Adaware, Spybot and a cheap defrager and run them to tidy things up.
Mr Happy said:
Now, we know that the Docs and settings/All User/Start Menu lists about three programs. But I know that somewhere, out there, is a real start menu, the one that tells norton (piece of sh*t), hardware and other stuff to start up. So my question to arrse's combined intellect is:


Mr H
As others have said, msconfig is the place to look. Run it and go to the Startup tab. Google all the things in the list to see which you want at Startup, uncheck the dross.
But before that, delete Norton and replace with something that isn't trying to take over the world. Norton is the Skynet beta.
Then clean everything up.
Mr Happy,

Try starting her laptop with the wireless connection switched off.

Once the machine has settled down and she can open and close things, switch the wireless on.

Let us know if that does the trick.


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