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Create .txt list of contents in System Configuration > Services & Startup tabs

Posted on 2013-06-19
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Last Modified: 2013-07-06
Hello,

After opening the System Configuration window (in Windows 7), is there a way to create a .txt file containing the contents of the Services tab and also one with the contents of the Startup tab? If so, how is that done?

Thanks
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Question by:Steve_Brady
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by:LeeTutor
LeeTutor earned 71 total points
ID: 39260152
You can do it from the appropriate windows of the MSINFO32 tab, as explained on this page:

http://www.ehow.com/how_7334714_save-output-msconfig.html
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by:Joe Winograd, EE MVE
Joe Winograd, EE MVE earned 285 total points
ID: 39260209
Hi Steve,

Try this:

Start
Run
Type msinfo32 in the Open box and click OK

This will bring up the System Information dialog. Click the plus sign next to Software Environment and you should see this:
sysinfoClick the Services item in the left pane and all of the services will appear in the right pane. Then click the File menu and Export, and it will save as a text file. Then click the Startup Programs item in the left pane and do the same...File>Export. Regards, Joe
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by:LeeTutor
ID: 39260228
Hey, Joewinograd, that is the same as my answer!
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by:Joe Winograd, EE MVE
ID: 39260259
Hey, LeeTutor,
I didn't see yours until after I submitted mine. I had my browser tab open to Steve's question, wrote my response in my text editor (as I usually do), captured the screenshot for him, copy/pasted my answer into the open browser tab (including embedding the screenshot). Happens all the time. Regards, Joe
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by:Joe Winograd, EE MVE
Joe Winograd, EE MVE earned 285 total points
ID: 39260272
Steve,
One more thing. I mentioned in your other recent question that I'm a huge fan of NirSoft's (free!) utilities:
http://www.nirsoft.net/

Another one of them that I've been using for many years is WhatInStartup:
http://www.nirsoft.net/utils/what_run_in_startup.html

Here's the download link:
http://www.nirsoft.net/utils/whatinstartup.zip

This is also a "zero-install" product, i.e., just unzip the file and run [WhatInStartup.exe]. It can give you a lot more information about the Startup items than msconfig/msinfo32. It gives you many choices for the columns to include (View>Choose Columns) and can also create an HTML report of selected items or all items. As I mentioned in the other thread, once it's in your browser as an HTML file, you may do a Save As to a text file, although I prefer the looks of the HTML file. Regards, Joe
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by:jcimarron
jcimarron earned 72 total points
ID: 39260496
FWIW--On my PC http://www.nirsoft.net/utils/what_run_in_startup.html lists more programs in StartUp.  Seven items (correct) vs. only four in MSINFO32.
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by:Joe Winograd, EE MVE
ID: 39260594
jcimarron,
Very interesting! Same here...57 reported by NirSoft's WhatInStartUp and 36 by msinfo32. Also, the Startup tab of msconfig shows 56. How many in your Startup tab of msconfig? Regards, Joe
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by:jcimarron
ID: 39260647
joewinograd--
"How many in your Startup tab of msconfig?"
Seven  (with boxes checked)
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LVL 51

Assisted Solution

by:Joe Winograd, EE MVE
Joe Winograd, EE MVE earned 285 total points
ID: 39260665
Hmmm, so NirSoft and msconfig are correct for you, while msinfo32 is wrong. Fascinating!
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Author Comment

by:Steve_Brady
ID: 39260864
Thanks for the great responses.

Regarding the brief exchange between the first two experts:

As a frequent question-asker, I always prefer an answer that is explained in the post rather than at some external location. Going to an external site always means dealing with a different format than here at EE and in general, I can discover much more quickly when a response might be going in a slightly different direction than what I intended. In this case, both the 1st and 2nd response were posted when I first checked back and because the 2nd included the explanation (versus a link), that's where I began reading. Then, after discovering that what I had read provided the answer I was seeking, there was no need to search any further. My only reason for following the link in the 1st response was that I happened to notice the exchange in the 3rd and 4th posts.

I almost wish I would not have followed the link for although I feel like (for the reasons mentioned above) the 2nd response is the "best," I'm left in that all too frequent quandary regarding how to most fairly assign points. I wish EE would publish guidelines for the relative value we askers should place on the order in which responses are posted. In this case, it appears that the first two responses were separated by just under 18 minutes. However, I can't help but wonder how much of that 18 minutes was used by the 2nd expert in writing the response and uploading the screenshot, etc. Interestingly, it's not all that uncommon to see comments in a thread regarding who posted what when (ie before or after someone else). And although those comments quite clearly carry an implied message directed towards the asker (re how points should be assigned), I don't believe I've ever seen the comments coming from the asker himself/herself. I mean, as an asker, who really cares?

I pay $10 or $12 each month so that I can obtain personalized answers to questions that arise in my own computer use. What I get for those charges is very well worth the investment but all I'm interested in is getting the best solutions I can. Certainly I don't want to wait until tomorrow for a solution that I can get within an hour or so, but splitting "minute" hairs about timing is, from my viewpoint, counterproductive. Furthermore, while the point assigning and totals is somewhat interesting from the perspective of a spectator, it really has nothing to do with my purposes for being here.

In my humble opinion, EE should set up a system in which time cutoffs are displayed rather than the exact number of minutes and seconds. For example, cutoffs might be 15 minutes, 30 minutes, 1 hour, 2 hours, and so on. As it is, I wonder how often an answering expert skimps on detail or posts links,* etc., in order to expedite his/her post when in another setting, they might include more or more detailed information or simply, a better and perhaps better-written response—which after all, is the goal. I know from my own experience, that there are 2-3 Experts whose usernames I love to see in one of my threads. The reason is that I can always count on their posts to be well thought out, well written and generally easy to understand. Because those few experts consistently respond that way, I have had the distinct impression that submitting a post a few minutes earlier than someone else is not a high priority.

In any event, I do need to assign points so here's my attempt to make it fair:

Since both responses give/lead to the same information, I'll start at 250 each. Then, perhaps one being posted before the other warrants a 50 point swing. And maybe providing the explanation directly in the post is worth a 50 point swing in the other direction. And finally, since I am a huge fan of visual helps, including the screenshot is worth another 50 points. I believe that leaves 200 points for the 1st expert and 300 points for the 2nd.

I would be interested in any other viewpoints about how to approach this.

Thanks—and thanks for abiding the rant!


* Please note that this comment is in no way directed towards the 1st expert in this particular thread. Posting links is an extremely common and long-standing practice on EE and my intent in taking this tangent, is only to throw out a question or idea or two about the overall process.
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by:LeeTutor
ID: 39260892
I am interested in your reasoning, and am persuaded by it, so I have no objection to its logic.
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Expert Comment

by:Joe Winograd, EE MVE
ID: 39261403
Hi Steve,

This is among the most thought-provoking posts that I have ever seen by the person asking the question. :)

You raise numerous very interesting issues. Here are my thoughts on them.

> I wish EE would publish guidelines for the relative value we askers should place on the order in which responses are posted.

I have no involvement whatsoever with the management of EE, so this is just my opinion. I think they don't publish guidelines because they want to leave it up to the authors (askers). Each person is different. Some may prefer the fastest correct answer, while others may prefer the "best" answer, even if it isn't the fastest ("best" is, of course, subject to each author's judgment...most thorough, well-written, step-by-step instructions, lots of screenshots, etc.). Some authors may prefer an external link to a highly reputable site with a domain that has some cachet, such as the Microsoft Knowledge Base at [support.microsoft.com]. Others may prefer an inline answer right here. So I think that EE is leaving "the relative value" that authors place on the order of answers subject to each author's value system.

> I can't help but wonder how much of that 18 minutes was used by the 2nd expert in writing the response and uploading the screenshot, etc.

Great point! It takes time to write a thorough answer and, in many cases, to test the answer. And if you're a person who thinks that screenshots, sometimes with annotations, are an important tool in helping an author to understand a proposed solution (I am), that takes additional time.

> I pay $10 or $12 each month so that I can obtain personalized answers to questions that arise in my own computer use.

Again, I have no involvement with EE management, but I think this certainly entitles you to place your own value system on the answers...fastest, simplest, most comprehensive, least reference to non-EE sites, "best" (by whatever measure you choose), etc.

> splitting "minute" hairs about timing is, from my viewpoint, counterproductive.

Then by all means ignore it.

> the point assigning and totals...really has nothing to do with my purposes for being here.

Yes, but you need to understand that it's one of the reasons, if not the main reason, for many of the experts being here to help you. The experts at EE do not receive any money (unlike some other sites that pay the answerer when an asker accepts an answer). The point system is a major reason why you "can get [a solution] within an hour or so".

> I wonder how often an answering expert skimps on detail or posts links,* etc., in order to expedite his/her post when in another setting, they might include more or more detailed information or simply, a better and perhaps better-written response—which after all, is the goal.

This is an extremely astute observation. I have absolutely no doubts that this happens often. As an EE member who tends to write detailed answers, often testing the proposed solutions, including capturing and embedding screenshots in the answers, I sometimes "lose" because of it. Of course, if another expert can say the same thing faster and it solves the author's problem, so be it. I have sometimes hit the Submit button only to find that an answer has already been accepted! This is because, as I mentioned earlier to LeeTutor, I usually have a browser tab open with the initial question (from having clicked on the link in the "Expert Alert" email) and unless I refresh the browser before answering, I won't see anything that has happened since the initial question was posted.

> posts [are] well thought out, well written and generally easy to understand.
> submitting a post a few minutes earlier than someone else is not a high priority.

A huge YES to both of those comments. And, in my opinion, it's perfectly fine for you to award your points based on those criteria.

> Since both responses give/lead to the same information, I'll start at 250 each. Then, perhaps one being posted before the other warrants a 50 point swing. And maybe providing the explanation directly in the post is worth a 50 point swing in the other direction. And finally, since I am a huge fan of visual helps, including the screenshot is worth another 50 points. I believe that leaves 200 points for the 1st expert and 300 points for the 2nd.

A well-reasoned approach. No argument here.

> Thanks—and thanks for abiding the rant!

And a big thanks to you for taking the time to document your thoughts. Regards, Joe
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by:Joe Winograd, EE MVE
Joe Winograd, EE MVE earned 285 total points
ID: 39261496
Steve,
One other very important item...related to your question, thankfully, not the points issue. :)

The comment by jcimarron is crucial. What he's saying is that msinfo32 does not report the same information that is in the Startup tab and Services tab of msconfig. LeeTutor and I both missed this with our msinfo32 suggestions. NirSoft's WhatInStartUp gets it right (see my earlier post about it)...or nearly right, as I can't explain its one extra item on my system (57 vs. 56).

I understand that you're doing this in preparation for reformatting your hard drive, so I assume what you want to do is compare the Services and Startup tabs of msconfig before the reformat and after the reformat/reinstall of Windows. So two ideas for you: (1) the HTML report from NirSoft's WhatInStartUp or (2) screen captures of the System Configuration dialog (depending on the number of items in your Services tab and Startup tab, it may take several scroll-downs in both tabs to capture screens with all of the entries).

Btw, back to points for a moment...based on the excellent catch by jcimarron, if I were the one awarding points, he'd get some! Regards, Joe
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Accepted Solution

by:
BillDL earned 72 total points
ID: 39267729
Hi Steve

Just some additional info which I hope has not already been mentioned in any of the comments or pages linked to by the others.

You can either launch MSINFO32.EXE from the command line and have it show specific categories, or can output the results of specified categories to an *.NFO file (opens again in msinfo32.exe on same or other computers) or text file using the /report command line switch.  Some experimentation is required to filter out unwanted clutter though.

http://support.microsoft.com/kb/300887
http://ss64.com/nt/msinfo32.html

Command line infers commands entered manually in a CMD window ("DOS" window) or a batch file with the file extension *.BAT or *.CMD which can be double-clicked.

MSINFO32.EXE may not be in a recognised path where you can just type MSINFO32 and run it without typing in the full path to it.  For example, on a Windows XP system the program file is here:
"C:\Program Files\Common Files\Microsoft Shared\MSInfo\msinfo32.exe"
I don't have a Win7 system running to check what the path is.

To see the actual names of the categories available, rather than the names as they are shown in MsInfo32, you can use this command (modifying the path to the program as appropriate):
"C:\Program Files\Common Files\Microsoft Shared\MSInfo\msinfo32.exe" /showcategories
In XP the relevant category names are:
SWEnvStartupPrograms
SWEnvServices

A batch file like this should create a report of those two categories named "test.txt" to the same folder as the batch file is run from.  You would just change the path to msinfo32.exe on the 2nd line to suit the OS.  Unfortunately I've never had success at eliminating the System Summary by adding  -SystemSummary  to the command.
@echo off
set MSINFO=C:\Program Files\Common Files\Microsoft Shared\MSInfo\msinfo32.exe

set CurrDir=%~dp0
set CurrDir=%CurrDir:~0,-1%

"%msinfo%" /report "%CurrDir%\Test.txt" /categories +SWEnvStartupPrograms+SWEnvServices

pause

Open in new window

There are a number of other ways to get the same information from the command line, eg. WMIC.  One uncomplicated command is   SC   to get a listing of services, the status of each, and a lot more about each one.  Bear in mind, though, that some services like AntiVirus applications are "drivers" as would be found amongst the listing in Device Manager > View menu > "Show Hidden Devices" > "Non-Plug and Play Drivers section".

sc query

shows all active services and drivers in a layout that resembles that of the reports generated by the NirSoft utility mentioned by Joe Winograd earlier, and can be redirected to a report file with the  >  symbol thus:

sc query>C:\SomePath\Report_Name.txt

You can filter out the "driver" ones like this (observe the space after the = sign):

sc query type= service

More about this command here: http://ss64.com/nt/sc.html

If you simply want to capture exactly what is showing in the respective MSCONFIG tabs, without any additional service information, then you may find that this other utility by NirSoft does what you need:
http://www.nirsoft.net/utils/sysexp.html

Unzip and run sysexp.exe.
Options menu > tick all except "Display SysExporter items" and "Always On Top".
Filter menu > tick "ListView" only, because that's the data type where it should find the contents of the respective tabs.
Open MSCONFIG
The SysExporter window should show 3 items for MSCONFIG.  One will be the Tools tab at the end, and the other two should be Services and Startup Programs.
While clicked on one of them, the File menu and Items menu have various Copy and Report options to suit.

There are many ways to skin a cat.
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Author Closing Comment

by:Steve_Brady
ID: 39303401
Super responses and discussion.  Thanks.
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Expert Comment

by:BillDL
ID: 39303604
Thank you Steve
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by:Joe Winograd, EE MVE
ID: 39303979
Steve,
You're welcome. I agree – great thread! I learned something new...always nice! Regards, Joe
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