Understanding Computers
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  Start Me Up
To promote their new product, Windows 95, Microsoft purchased the rights to the venerable Rolling Stones hit "Start Me Up" Microsoft intended to draw attention to their latest feature, the Start button. The choice has proven to be quite ironic.
Windows allows applications to start themselves up when you turn on your computer, whether you need them or not. Each one takes a bit of time to start up. The more applications that do this trick, the longer you have to wait. To paraphrase Mick Jagger, "you can start me up" but it seems to take forever.
The idle applications continue to run in the background, which wastes system resources. Most of the applications are little or never used. Some launch themselves for the sole purpose of sending information about your computer back to their publishers.
You can see which applications are running on your computer at any moment by holding down the CTRL, and ALT keys and tapping the Delete key, We nerds call this "the three-finger salute." Do not push the Delete key more than once, or your computer will restart, not a disaster, just a waste of time. The Close Program window will open with a list of applications inside it.
You can close individual applications by selecting them from the list and clicking the E nd Task button. You'll be surprised at how few of them are doing anything useful. You will also be surprised at how much faster your computer runs without them. A quick warning, some of the applications are needed to launch peripherals like scanners and printers and some are used by Windows itself. Don't worry, restarting your computer automatically restores any programs that you closed.
Which is the essence of the problem. How can you prevent all the unwanted programs from starting themselves up every time you turn on your computer? Windows 98 users can run a utility called "msconfig" to select which programs are allowed to start themselves. Windows 95, 2000, and XP users must download and install the correct version of this utility before they can run it.
To run msconfig; click the Start button, click Run, type in msconfig, and click Okay. The System Configuration Utility window will open. Select the Startup tab, which is the tab at the far right. You will see a list of every application that starts itself up when you turn on your computer. You can pick which applications run at start up by checking or clearing the box next to their names. The applications remain on the list after their check boxes are cleared, so you can restore their status if you accidentally clear a check box you wanted to keep. When it doubt, leave it in.
Once you know how to "start it up" the right way, you'll get a lot more satisfaction from your computer.
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