msconfig.exe not appearing

March 17, 2009 at 23:00:24
Specs: Windows XP Home SP3, C2D E6300 / 3072 MB
I've performed countless full anti-virus and anti-spyware scans, so I'm sure this isn't malware related.

In safe mode, msconfig runs fine. In normal mode, upon immediately logging into Windows, I check the task manager and msconfig.exe is present under Processes (at roughly 11000 K). Start > Run "msconfig" merely briefly displays the hourglass. If I terminate the process via the task manager and try again, still nothing happens.

I've tried disabling all my other auto-start programs in case of conflict, to no avail.


See More: msconfig.exe not appearing

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#1
March 18, 2009 at 00:10:33
I'm not sure I fully understand; msconfig is already started when you log in? And if so, it shouldn't be. If anything, you should get a dialog box telling you that you recently used msconfig with a checkbox to not show the dialog box on the next startup.

You could try sfc /scannow to see if msconfig.exe is possibly corrupt too.

Greg


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#2
March 18, 2009 at 00:14:53
It's probably malware.
It should not be running unless you run it yourself.

When I do run it, the legitimate msconfig.exe shows 4,084K in Task Manager for me.

Normally you have two identical copies of msconfig.exe in
C:\Windows\System32\dllcache
and
C:\Windows\pchealth\helpctr\binaries

The dates of the two should be identical (when you last installed Windows)
When I RIGHT click on them, Properties, mine are 158,208 bytes

msconfig32.exe is definately malware - there's no such thing in Windows.


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#3
March 18, 2009 at 02:36:58
I have msconfig.exe in these locations:

C:\WINDOWS\pchealth\helpctr\binaries
C:\WINDOWS\ServicePackFiles\i386

Both are 04/14/2008 00:12:27 169,984

Double-clicking either of these doesn't make the usual window appear, but they launch msconfig.exe as a Process visible in the task manager (again around 11000 K).

I also have the following entry in the registry:

HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\App Paths\MSCONFIG.exe

Which has the data:

C:\WINDOWS\PCHealth\HelpCtr\Binaries\MSConfig.exe

I don't have msconfig32.exe.


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Related Solutions

#4
March 18, 2009 at 05:37:07
Most Virus and Spyware scans are likely to work better in Windows Safe-Mode.

Look in your Startup folder in your Start Menu >All Programs

Programs can run from three places at startup:
1.The Startup groups
(Startup folders or msconfig Startup tab)
2.The "run=" and "load="
lines in the Win.ini file.
3.The Run and RunOnce lines in the registry
(Lots of those)
http://support.microsoft.com/defaul...
A Definition of the Run Keys in the Windows XP Registry

http://support.microsoft.com/kb/312393
The System Configuration Utility starts when you start your computer


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#5
March 18, 2009 at 13:08:36
Apparently
- you have msconfig.exe in the expected legitimate places

- your msconfig.exe is a legitimate size

This article describes the new Tools tab that is available in the System Configuration utility (Msconfig.exe). The new Tools tab is available after you install the 906569 update on a Microsoft Windows XP Service Pack 2 (SP2)-based computer.
http://support.microsoft.com/kb/906569

Tools tab does not appear
http://windowsxp.mvps.org/toolstab.htm

However, there is a malware msconfig.exe exactly the same size as the legitimate one I have, so there could be one exactly the same size as you have:
http://www.prevx.com/filenames/1725...
....

What is NOT normal is
- it loading automatically in normal mode, unless you have neglected to mention you are ALSO getting the two System Configuration Utility windows pop up every time you boot
- posiibly, the 11,000k or so it is using while running
(it MIGHT help if you quoted the exact amount it is using, or if you searched the web using msconfig.exe along with the exact figure)
- the fact you can't stop the process

"I also have the following entry in the registry:

HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\App Paths\MSCONFIG.exe

Which has the data:

C:\WINDOWS\PCHealth\HelpCtr\Binaries\MSConfig.exe"

Those are fine, but you should have a lot more than just one registry entry for msconfig.exe.

2000 and XP regedit has this annoying tendancy of saving where you were in the regisry when you last used regedit when you closed it. When you use regedit the next time, that's here it goes to when you open it, not necessarily to the begining of the registry.
To properly search the whole registry, you have to make sure My Computer is highlighted at the top of the list at left BEFORE you search.
.......

More task manager stuff

Mine - run from desktop shortcut 4,784K
click shortcut again without closing 4,788K
I can easily stop the process.

Even if yours uses more, it's unlikely it would use about 11,000K with just one more feature.

Bogus registry enties to look for:
http://www.file.net/process/msconfi...
.........

"The new Tools tab is available after you install the 906569 update on a Microsoft Windows XP Service Pack 2 (SP2)-based computer."

You could try un-installing 906569 or KB 906569 if it's listed in Add/Remove Programs.
..........
"
http://support.microsoft.com/kb/312393
The System Configuration Utility starts when you start your computer"

That's as intended, but
- you always get the two System Configuration Utility windows pop up every time you boot as the desktop is loaded as well
- you DO NOT have any problem stopping the process in Task Manager

That article tells you to Enable All on the Startup tab
- you don't necessarily want to to that, in fact it's often a good idea NOT to do that. You often have way too many programs loading as Startup programs there.
- you can prevent msconfig from loading and the two System Configuration Utility windows from loading while booting into Windows without having to enable loading of all of them!

See Response 4 in this:
http://www.computing.net/answers/wi...


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#6
March 19, 2009 at 06:29:55
I can easily terminate the process via the task manager, but trying to launch it manually merely makes the process pop up again in the task manager, and that's it.

I've had the "Tools" tab available for quite some time now, long before this problem started occurring.

In Safe Mode it runs fine, with the mem usage also much lower. I can change the startup configuration as well, although I never receive any window pop ups after restarting.


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#7
March 19, 2009 at 07:19:11
You could try un-installing 906569 or KB906569 if it's listed in Add/Remove Programs.

That should install the msconfig.exe version without the extra Tools tab.

Or you could try running system file checker as suggested in response1 - that may fix the problem.


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#8
March 20, 2009 at 00:26:28
I've tried using system file checker although I keep getting pop-ups requesting the Windows CD, but seeing as I have SP3 installed it won't recognise my original disc. I probably need an SP3 disc, although I'm not sure whether it needs to be bootable. Would this work?

http://www.microsoft.com/DownLoads/...


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#9
March 20, 2009 at 01:22:42
It may be easier to slipstream SP3 into XP onto a fresh cd. This way it will be bootable and you won't have to worry about installing SP3 separately.
These sites should get you started if you don't know how:
http://www.howtohaven.com/system/sl...

http://www.theeldergeek.com/slipstr...

http://www.winsupersite.com/showcas...

Greg


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#10
March 20, 2009 at 07:55:24
Is 906569 or KB906569 listed in Add/Remove Programs??
.......

"I've tried using system file checker although I keep getting pop-ups requesting the Windows CD, ..."

Can you borrow a Windows CD that has SP2 updates?

These things I have learned through experience......

Before there were SP3 updates,
- if the XP CD you were using has no updates, SFC will not accept it as valid if Windows has SP2 updates installed - I don't know if that applies to a XP CD with SP1 updates
(XP CDs with SP1 updates have nothing printed on the CD that indicates it has SP1 updates; ones with SP2 or SP3 updates do)
- if the CD you were using has SP2 updates, Windows had SP2 updates installed, I had to click on Retry many times to get all the way through SFC, but it worked fine otherwise. Since it can take a half hour or more on slower systems for SFC to complete, it's a bit annoying to have to be available to click on Retry all that time.

- After SP3 updates have been installed, a XP CD with SP2 updates is accepted without any problem by SFC.
.....

"Would this work?"

Would SFC accept a CD made from the SP3 updates CD image?

I don't think so.
I have the original Microsoft SP2 updates CD - SFC won't accept that as valid despite the fact XP with SP3 updates installed accepts a XP CD with SP2 updates no problem.
......

If you do make a slipstreamed CD with the SP3 updates integrated into the contents of your CD contents, if you use Nero Burning Rom many versions have bugs, and if you follow the directions found on the web in many places, you end up with a CD that is not bootable because of those bugs.
If that's what you would be using, I have some additional instructions I could post.


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#11
March 21, 2009 at 03:21:41
906569 or KB906569 isn't listed Add/Remove programs.

Is the CD an absolute requirement?


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#12
March 21, 2009 at 08:47:40
"Is the CD an absolute requirement?"

No, but it doesn't take long to make, you can't run SFC without at least a CD with SP2 updates, and when you need to re-load Windows having the SP3 updates already integrated into the slipsteamed CD saves you a fair bit of time.

I can't guarantee SFC will fix your msconfig problem in normal mode, but it might.


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#13
March 21, 2009 at 20:38:36
I found a workaround suggestion on the web.

If some unknown malware or other program is interfering with msconfig, if you rename it, the renamed one usually works fine because the malware or whatever requires the file name to be msconfig.exe .

e.g.
Copy msconfig.exe to somewhere on your Path, such as C:\Windows, or C:\ , then rename that copy to something else, such as msconfix.exe. Instead of typing Run: msconfig, type: msconfix. If you want a shortcut for it on your desktop you could make that too.

.


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#14
March 22, 2009 at 10:56:52
I copied it into C:\ and renamed it, though that didn't work either; the process name popped up in the task manager as usual. Strangely enough renaming it to "systemconfig.exe" ended up triggering my anti-spyware and it was flagged as a Trojan.

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#15
March 22, 2009 at 20:21:43
" ... the process name popped up in the task manager as usual."

It would, of course, no matter what you renamed it to, but the renamed one should work fine if there's nothing wrong with the original msconfig.exe.

If you made the slipstreamed CD with SP3 updatesi ntegrated into the contents of your Windows CD and ran SFC it theory that might fix your problem.
......

"I've performed countless full anti-virus and anti-spyware scans...."

Did you try using Malwarebytes, and Smitfraudfix ?
Those two will find things many other anti-malware programs don't.
.....

"I have msconfig.exe in these locations:

C:\WINDOWS\pchealth\helpctr\binaries
C:\WINDOWS\ServicePackFiles\i386 "

I find it suspicious you don't have a copy in

C:\Windows\System32\dllcache

Malware often deletes the one there.

Try this.
Start - Run - type: cmd (click OK or press Enter)

type:
fc C:\WINDOWS\pchealth\helpctr\binaries\msconfig.exe C:\WINDOWS\ServicePackFiles\i386\msconfig.exe
(press Enter)

(all on one line)

If FC (File Compare) says they're different, try copying and re-naming the one in

C:\WINDOWS\ServicePackFiles\i386



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#16
March 26, 2009 at 07:19:53
... I think I may have a problem with file compare too?
I just get a flashing command window, and then it disappears.

I've scanned many times with Malwarebytes' Anti-Malware, a-squared Free, SuperAntiSpyware, Spybot, ZoneAlarm, ThreatFire, Windows Defender, and I've also used registry cleaners.


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#17
March 26, 2009 at 09:53:53
"... I think I may have a problem with file compare too?
I just get a flashing command window, and then it disappears"

FC will NOT run in Windows itself.

You have to go into cmd mode first, then run FC.

"Start - Run - type: cmd (click OK or press Enter)"

The black window appears.
The prompt is probably
C:\Documents and Settings\(user name)>

Then "type:

fc C:\WINDOWS\pchealth\helpctr\binaries\msconfig.exe C:\WINDOWS\ServicePackFiles\i386\msconfig.exe
(press Enter)

(all on one line)"

a space between fc and C:\Windows ......., and between msconfig.exe and C:\Windows......


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#18
March 26, 2009 at 22:51:47
No differences were found.

If msconfig.exe runs perfectly fine in Safe Mode, then the problem can't be the file itself can it? Therefore would system file check really work?


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#19
March 27, 2009 at 07:49:47
" If msconfig.exe runs perfectly fine in Safe Mode, then the problem can't be the file itself can it? "

One would think so, but it's possible both copies of msconfig.exe are bogus - if they aren't, obviously something loaded in normal mode that's not loaded in Safe mode is interfering with msconfig.

"...would system file check really work?..."

It certainly won't hurt, and it MIGHT fix the problem.
......

See the info at link at the end of response 5. If your problem is caused by some Startup program, loading fewer Startup programs, or you could even try loading no Startup programs at all, should allow msconfig to work properly in normal mode.
.......

I did some checking on another computer I have at the moment that I'm working on. It has SP3 updates installed on it - the other one does not.

It has msconfig.exe of the same size as you have - 169,984 bytes, version 5.1.2600.5512.

Start - Run: msconfig in Safe mode - user logon
Task Manager shows: 5,396 bytes being used by msconfig.exe
.....

Normal mode.
Start - Run: msconfig - 5,468 bytes used

When the two System Configuration Utility widows pop up as the desktop loads
- first window on screen - 3,340 bytes used
Close first window by clicking on the X top right, the second window is onscreen - the same one you see when you use Start - Run: msconfig - 5,512 bytes used by msconfig.

So, seeing 11,xxx bytes used in normal mode for msconfig is NOT normal.


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