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CNET Membership newsletter July 2, 2004 


The 5 that matter

Dear CNET members:
This week's answer involves Windows registry editing, but unless you are comfortable with it, I wouldn't advise tampering with it. However, if you are up to the challenge, make sure you back up the registry before tackling the task, just in case you need to undo something. Following this week's winning answer by Dustin, I included in the honorable mentions members who gave alternative solutions such as using utilities. While they will still tweak the registry, some of these programs make it less intimidating with a friendlier user interface. Please use utilities with care and caution; I make no guarantees. Thanks for all the great submissions, everyone.

1How do I clear or clean out my Windows XP msconfig selection start-up menu? A lot of old programs that have been deleted off my PC still show up there.

--Submitted by: Drew S. of Baltimore, Maryland

First, a word of warning: This may require you to edit the registry. Doing this incorrectly can cause permanent damage to your operating system and should therefore be done with extreme caution.

1) Click the Start menu.
2) Go to Run.
3) Type regedit and hit Enter.

Now navigate through the registry just like you navigate your hard drive in Windows.
1. In the left pane, go to HKEY_CURRENT_USER\ Software\ Microsoft\ Windows\ CurrentVersion\ Run
2. In the right pane, find the name of a program you want to remove from your msconfig (look at msconfig if need be), and click it.
3. Hit the Delete key and click Yes in the resulting dialog.
4. Close msconfig (if it is open), then reopen it. If the file appears, it is located somewhere else; if it doesn't appear, repeat the above steps for the rest of the ones you want removed from msconfig.
5. If it is still there, go back to the top of the tree in the left pane (making sure you hit the minus button on the left of each folder to collapse them).
6. Then go to HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\ Software\ Microsoft\ Windows\ CurrentVersion\ Run (note that it is local_machine now instead of current_user).
7. Find the file in the right side and delete it in the same manner as before.
8. Close and reopen msconfig again and verify that it is gone.

--Submitted by: Dustin B. of Kingwood, Texas

(Note: Above is the edited version of Dustin's answer. In Dustin's complete answer, he goes through the process step by step, from backing up your registry to double-checking which msconfig files have been deleted. Please click here for Dustin's complete answer and don't forget to read the honorable mentions.)

For his efforts, we’re sending Drew his choice of any Help.com Learning CD.

Check out next week's question:

In Microsoft Excel, how can I protect selective cells in a worksheet (the ones that contain formulas) from accidentally being altered or deleted?

--Submitted by: Chris H.


We feature a new question every Friday. If you have the answer, e-mail us at messageboards@cnet.com. If we choose your response, you'll get a free Help.com CD. Click here for Q&A submission guidelines


Best regards and enjoy!

Lee Koo
CNET Community
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