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msconfig will not open

Posted on 2004-08-28
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Last Modified: 2012-06-27
Ok, msconfig will run for a second, but never opens a window.  taskmgr and sfc work though.  I have XP Home.

I have tried:
 - norton antivirus.  Shows up to date, runs ok, and will detect a test file I got from grc.com
 - panda activescan
 - spy sweeper
 - spybot 1.3
 - booted to safe mode, no internet connection option.  Same thing happened.
 - replaced the msconfig file with a new one and called it mc2.exe.  Still failed the same way
 - monitored it with regmon, and filemon (neat tools!) from sysinternals.  Seems to run, load a bunch of DLL's, check a pile of registry keys, and scan some ini files.  Then it closes and goes away.  The only DLL it has trouble with according to filemon is mfc42loc (name is from memory...may have spelled it wrong), which doesn't to be on my system (and I don't think it is normal in the US).   Also the behavior is repeatable, so I don't think something I missed is killing it, or the timing would be different each time.

Any ideas on what else to try?  I think it is some environment condition (registry, DLL) but am at a loss to figure out what.  Also policy edit is unavailable on XP home, so don't think it is that.

Wayne
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Question by:wzd3
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by:pjcrooks2000
ID: 11923515
Wayne have a look at this post http://www.experts-exchange.com/Operating_Systems/WinXP/Q_20926400.html

Seems as though there are a few things that could be causing your problem

Good luck post back if you have any more questions

pjcrooks2000
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by:wzd3
ID: 11923688
Well, I did most of those things before posting.  Also, the repeatable filemon traces indicate it is not a virus killing it.

I ran sfc and also copied a new version from a working xp computer, (gave it a new name before copying) and ran it.  Same behavior.

More info (from filemon):  after scanning the boot.ini file, it loads the faultrep.dll.  But the usual pop up about sending logs to microsoft never occurs.

wayne
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by:Merete
ID: 11924887
try a system restore, I know for a fact there is trojan out there that corrupts the msconfig opt,so to be on the safe side
please do run housecalls first, also never rename or add any windows folders as this usualy will never work, http://housecall.trendmicro.com
if all else fails just run your xp cd from your desktop and choose " upgrade " you will need your regestration key, all your stuff will stay intact and it will fix any corrupted system folders, but do run housecalls first and do a defrag as well this way your xp will install in a nice and tight hdd.
You will lose nothing doing it this way and you also ensure that you do not have any trojans. It will reboot several times and will also ask you if you wish to download the patches upfront at the start of the install
regards M
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by:wzd3
ID: 11933607
Well, I ran housecall, and it didn't find anything.

I'm not sure what the comment on never renaming windows folders was directed at.  If it was at the rename of the msconfig executable, that is one widely recommended way to check if a virus is killing it.

Reloading (upgrading) windows seems to be the answer of choice (or cop out) for a whole lot of problems.  It is hard for me to accept after working in the computer industry for 25 years on both unix and proprietary systems where identifying why something was failing was so much easier and so much the culture.   This problem is not serious enough for reloading, but just annoying.  Reloading is not a solution to me.

 I plan to pursue it and use the opportunity to learn more about the (apparently primitive) debugging facilities that seem to be available in windows.  I have already found some neat tools, although none as good as the unix/linux systrace.  I have also found better (autoruns from sysinternals) utilities that msconfig for examining startup conditions.

So any suggestions on how to pursue this problem are welcome, but I think, as I indicated in the initial post, that I am past the virus/trojan possibilities.  I am interested in ways to look at what is happening and figure out what is corrupt or failing.  I think my next step will be to look for DLL analysis tools.

Wayne
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by:pjcrooks2000
ID: 11933682
wzd3 I just found this give it a whirl

http://www.kellys-korner-xp.com/xp_msconfig.htm

:)
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by:Merete
ID: 11938451
good o wzd3  no trojans, when you say msconfig runs for a moment but does not open any windows .. try these>>

Msconfig and Troubleshooting Tools in Windows XP
Restore Disabled Startup Programs After Win95/98/Me Upgrade XP
Reinstall the values to the registry and the programs from the Startup folders:

1. Click Start, click Run, type "msconfig" (without the quotation marks), and then click OK.
2. Click the Startup tab.
3. Click the Restore Startup Programs option.
4. Select the programs that you want to restore, and then click OK.
5. Restart the computer.

NOTE: This option is not available if Windows XP Setup did not disable any programs from loading during the startup process.

If you enabled all of the programs that are listed in "Startup Programs Removed During Setup," the next time that the System Configuration Utility starts, the Restore Startup Programs option is unavailable, and the programs are migrated to
the Startup tab.

NOTE: Many of these programs can cause problems when you start the computer in Windows XP. After you have restored the programs, you can use the System Configuration Utility to disable these programs on the Startup tab if you have
difficulty starting Windows XP.

After you have restored the programs, if you cannot restart your computer in Windows, follow these steps:

1. Restart the computer, and then press the F8 key to display the Windows Advanced Options menu.
2. Click Safe Mode.
3. Follow the prompts to start the computer in Windows XP by running in Safe mode as an administrator (for Windows
    XP Home Edition).
4. Click Start, click Run, type "msconfig" (without the quotation marks), and then click OK.
5. Click the Startup tab, and then click to clear the programs that you added.
6. Click OK, and then follow the prompts to restart in Normal mode.
7. In Normal mode, start the System Configuration Utility, and then add one program at a time to determine which program
    has prevented you from being able to restart your computer normally.

Extract a New Copy of Msconfig.exe

Open a command prompt window. Insert your XP CD into the drive and enter the following command:

EXPAND -R X:\I386\MSCONFIG.EX_Z:\WINDOWS\PCHEALTH\HELPCTR\BINARIES

To Remove Entries:  How to clear all the Un-Used items in MSCONFIG

Start/Run/Regedit

For items that were in the Start menu, Programs, Startup folder:

HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Shared Tools\MSConfig\startupfolder.  You'll find a subkey for each disabled item.

For items loaded from the Registry:

HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Shared Tools\MSConfig\startupreg.  You'll find a subkey for each disabled item.

Another Option:

Start/Run/Regedit

HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Run.  In the right pane, delete the value for MSConfig.

Alternatively, you can use a small VB Script file to do this for you as well. Copy the following three lines to a Notepad file and save as No_MSCONFIG.VBS

On Error Resume Next
Set WshShell = WScript.CreateObject("WScript.Shell")
WshShell.RegDelete "HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Run\MSConfig".  

After running MSConfig, run the VBS file and this entry will be removed automatically.
Stop the Selective Startup Screen:

To use: Download the xp_nomsconfig.vbs file and save it to your Desktop (you may want to right click and use Save Target As). Double-click the xp_nomsconfig.vbs file after closing MSConfig.  You will not see the Selective Startup screen on the next boot.  This script can be viewed in Notepad or any text editor, as to the specific Registry key and value that are updated.  

www.doughknox.com file name xp_nomsconfig.vbs  script file


have you tried running>> scanregw /fix


Index of Windows XP Tips http://www.mvps.org/sramesh2k/Tips_Page.htm
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by:wzd3
ID: 11982716

I am familiar with kelly's corner pj, and it indicates how to USE msconfig, not what to do if it doesn't even run.  And then I just had to grin when merete cut/pasted from kellys corner... and mentioned scanregw for an xp question.

bottom line, it looks like no answers here.

Wayne

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by:pjcrooks2000
ID: 11982730
Wayne did you look into this link that I posted above http://www.experts-exchange.com/Operating_Systems/WinXP/Q_20926400.html

:)
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by:pjcrooks2000
ID: 11982731
I think you may need to reinstall a new copy of of it thats all!  
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by:Merete
ID: 11983072
since you have tried several options you could simply run the upgrade option using your xp cd from the desktop, Just put it in and when the menue comes choose instal xp and then upgrade..You will need your reg. You probably know this but I'll post it anyway.
at least this way your hd will remain intact but whatever is missing corrupted or has caused this oddity should be fixed. I cant think of anything else its just another one of those mysteries of xp lol. If only we could figure what causes them.
Lol wzd3  I sometimes just paste the entire contents here saves you the trouble of going there and we do often times post the same suggestions oops I didnt check what the others had posted.

I did find this however>>Why does Task Manager, MSCONFIG, or REGEDIT disappear while opening?http://www.mvps.org/sramesh2k/ToolsQuit.htm

Good Luck with it Regards M ;)
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by:pjcrooks2000
ID: 11983790
Have you changed your accounts seeting recently, perhaps your accounts do not have administrative rights.

Its worth checking it out, perhaps you could try creating a new account with Admin rights to see if that works.  Or login as Administrator to see if that works.

pjcrooks2000
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by:wzd3
ID: 12223937
I guess it is abandoned.  There was never an answer on how to debug the problem, other than ones I mentioned as already done in the beginning, or the stock " reload windows" answer.  The points are not really an issue, as I haven't used this forum very much.  I'm still looking for a good forum that provides more than I can find with a simple google search.  I realize that 99% of the people that post a problem haven't done much homework themselves, and that the stock answers work for them.   However iIt was hard to believe that any of the people answering had actually read the entire original post.  Maybe the race for points can enourage the wrong behavior at times.

Wayne
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by:pjcrooks2000
ID: 12224432
wzd3,

you really are a very rude person, after all the help people tried to give you, and for your information the points value are not the issue here at EE.  Rather it is the expansion of everyones knowledge and the sense in helping someone that seems to drive most of us onwards.  The points are an award for our efforts and make us feel that helping someone has not gone un appreciated as it seems to have done with yourself.   Another thing, i actually pay for this servvice and I do not need the points so go figure that one.

 
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by:Merete
ID: 12225356
I second that pjcrooks2000, it is the pleasure of sharing our experience which by the way is priceless. Also we have to kinda really tune in to the problems posted here as most folks dont give a lot of accurate details. Like we cant see their machines in front of us and to type solutions so that they can understand it is often quite an effort.. So we at EE are really expert mind readers lol. Cheers. M
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by:pjcrooks2000
ID: 12227533
Whether we like it or not, some people class us as nerds, although you wouldn't know it to look at us :)  So we thrive on community based forums such as this whereby we can as you so rightly said Merete share our  knowledge.  I agree that problems can not always be instantly solved only suggestions given ieven if that does mean googling  for answers.

It all comes together under the roof of EE where the community spirit and usefulness of the service shall get better and better the more we contribute.  Not to mention we all may learn a thing or two, or three.

:)
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by:pjcrooks2000
ID: 12227576
I actually wonder sometimes if some people expect a magic want to be waved when they come on here, at the end of the day some work will always be required on the part of the asker.  All we can do is put forward suggestions and hope that the asker acts upon the suggestions!  Ok thats it, i think i have said my thirty four pence worth .....
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by:wzd3
ID: 12240433
Sorry if I am comming across as rude, that was not intended.  I do understand and appreciate that people are trying to help others here, and many of the suggestions are attempts to help.   I am a little frustrated with the responses however, and that frustration is what is driving the wording of my post.  I really feel that most of the responders did not read the original post as carefully as I wrote it.  I tried to write it to avoid the scan for virus, reload windows, etc. type options.  If you go back and look it mentions that taskmgr and sfc (and I should have included regedit) run, but msconfig does not, and that I ran several virus scanners.  In spite of that several scan for virus solutions were put out.  I agree that the primary cause of msconfig not running is due to viruses, but tried to highlight that this was different.  Also go back and look at the responses carefully - and see how many say to check for virus problems, reload/upgrade, or one that even tells me how to use msconfig!

I also did some work:  loading and running filemon and regmon and examining output counts as that I think.  I am not looking for a magic wand, but simply some info on how to DEBUG a problem.  Note from one of my posts "More info (from filemon):  after scanning the boot.ini file, it loads the faultrep.dll.  But the usual pop up about sending logs to microsoft never occurs.".  No one ever addressed how to find more info on the apparent crash of msconfig out.

I've worked in the computer industry for 25 years, on high reliability telephony applications.  Finding and fixing problems was always a key component of the work.  Rebooting or reloading therefor REALLY grates on me.  I apologize if that attitude has made me seem rude and ungrateful.  I would gladly spend several times the amount of time it takes to reload to find and understand the problem - that's my culture.   I hate the idea of rebooting/reloading to fix problems.  Hate it, Hate it, Hate it.

So PJ, please carefully read over the thread, and let me know if I have missed something.  If you see an answer that you feel in on target given the original and my followon comments, please let me know which one and I will accept it.

Wayne
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by:wzd3
ID: 12240729
Ok, I did some more work, and I don't think reloading would have fixed it.  I renamed boot.ini to boot1.ini and ran MSCONFIG.  It started up!!

I renamed it back so the system would be bootable.

For the curious, here is the file ( unmodified from the original Dell config as far as I know).  

[boot loader]
timeout=5
default=multi(0)disk(0)rdisk(0)partition(2)\WINDOWS
[operating systems]
multi(0)disk(0)rdisk(0)partition(2)\WINDOWS="Microsoft Windows XP Home Edition" /fastdetect /NoExecute=OptIn
[operating systems]
multi(0)disk(0)rdisk(0)partition(2)\WINDOWS="Microsoft Windows XP Home Edition (#1)"
multi(0)disk(0)rdisk(0)partition(8)\WINDOWS
[operating systems]
multi(0)disk(0)rdisk(0)partition(2)\WINDOWS="Microsoft Windows XP Home Edition  (#2)"


I think I will go study boot.ini files and figure out why this makes msconfig crash and burn.  Note that Dell uses partition 1 for it's own purposes and windows is on partition 2.  I'm not sure what partation 8 is...but have to run now and get back to this tonight.

Wayne
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by:pjcrooks2000
ID: 12242355
Thanks for the feedback Wayne,

I wondered if you had checked the link I think I gave you last the kelly's corner one,  Oooh not not kellys corner again!  

On the kellys corner page there is a guide to reloading a copy of MSCONFIG, i don't know if you missed it as the page is actually entitled "Msconfig and Troubleshooting Tools in Windows XP" but the section i hoped you would look at was entitled "Extract a New Copy of Msconfig.exe" a little further on down on the page.

I see where you coming from in respect to wanting to sort the problem out methodically rather than reloading.  Whereas I am the complete oposite as a former electronic engineer i learned the quickest route was always the best option.  Time is money and all that!

On my first post:  I linked you back to a PAQ and i admit some of the solutions discussed on there were not what you wanted to hear.  Although some of the solutions could be applied and tested.  You just never know what the problem could be, as we are not sat in front of the machine.

Anyway all said and done, i am glad you got it sorted in the end and I wish you all the best for the future!

pjcrooks2000

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by:wzd3
ID: 12245158
Yes, actually I did check the link, before my first post actually, and did reload msconfig from the windows disk, and also renamed it something else (mc2).  Maybe the "replaced the msconfig file with a new one and called it mc2.exe.  Still failed the same way" comment in my first post was overly terse.  The renaming was also suggested, maybe in kellys korner, maybe somewhere else, as a way to avoid possible virus problems.

I have found over and over that the quickest option is sometimes the worst.  Like when a customer finds a critical problem we (the developers) ignored.  In this case it would be entirely possible (pure speculation though) that the reload/upgrade process would process the boot.ini file and bomb in the middle for the same reason (whatever that was)  that msconfig barfed.   And we all know of cases where upgrades bombed out, and format/reinstall was required.  But then maybe reload/upgrade would have worked, who knows.

Finally, best of  luck to you, and keep up the good work here.  There are many useful suggestions on these pages.

Wayne
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by:wzd3
ID: 12245320
For anyone else tripping over this.  The problem seems to be that various upgrade steps have added extra
"[operating systems]" section to the boot.ini file.  Removing the extra "[operating systems]" lines makes it so that msconfig will run (actually it runs with 2, but crashes with 3).   It does not work correctly with 2 "[operating systems]" lines, so removing all but the first is the correct way to fix it.  I also cleaned up some extra entries in mine.

**WARNING*** be sure to make a copy of boot.ini before editing it.  Also you will have to select properties for the file, and remove the read-only attribute.  You should put it back to read only when you are done, but it doesn't seem to be necessary.

Wayne
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by:pjcrooks2000
ID: 12247403
Hehe,

wzd3  if we would have know that the system was upgraded several times in the past, well i am sure you would have seen suggestions to edit boot.ini file.  We can certainly ask the question if someone comes on with the same problem in the future.    
I have never heard of a machine whereby the OS had been upgraded 3 times in the past.  That a good one to remember!

thanks

pjcrooks2000
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by:pjcrooks2000
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No objections !
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