Q. After loading a new application, my computer started acting funny. I’m not much of a computer expert, but since the problem started immediately after the installation, I strongly suspect the new application is the culprit. It’s programmed to start automatically when Windows fires up. I guess I can erase the app, but I really like it and I don’t want to just get rid of it if I don’t have to. Is there a way to test whether it’s the culprit without erasing it?
A. That’s a good question because it opens the door to a very useful Windows feature that users should know about—the Clean Boot. It’s a way to fire up Windows after first deselecting those applications you don’t want Windows to start with. By employing such deselection, you can figure out which apps are giving you trouble, or you can use the feature to customize which apps you don’t want to run in certain instances. For example, some antivirus programs, which typically start automatically, can cause problems when you subsequently run diagnostic programs. Clean Boot can let Windows start without the antivirus program so you can run the diagnostic. And when you’re done with the diagnostic, you can reboot and reactivate the virus program.
To evoke Clean Boot, go to the Start menu and select Run . Type msconfig in the box and click on OK.
In the General tab that comes up, choose Selective startup .
Then uncheck each of the checked boxes. Click on the Startup tab, which brings up this screen—a list of all the programs that start with Windows:
Move down the menu and put a check next to the Statemgr box and click on OK to allow your computer to reboot when prompted.
Now, one at a time, check a box and reboot. When your computer starts to “act funny” after a reboot, you’ll have isolated the problem.
To undo your Clean Boot, return to the General tab and select Normal Boot.