Windows Cannot Find Msconfig

The guide assists you in repairing a Windows system that throws the error message Windows Cannot Find Msconfig when you try to load the tool.

MSConfig, which stands for Microsoft System Configuration Utility, is an administrative tool that gets distributed with the Windows operating system.

It has been designed by Microsoft to provide quick access to several system settings, files and parameters. This includes startup items, Windows services, boot options, and ini files like boot.ini or system.ini.

Note: Microsoft changed the configuration of msconfig in newer versions of Windows. It removed the option to manage startup items for instance.

MSConfig can be accessed from the run command by using Windows-R, typing msconfig, and hitting the Enter-key.

Fixing Windows Cannot Find Msconfig

windows cannot find msconfig

It happens in rare cases that Windows cannot start the application. The operating system displays the error message "Windows cannot find MSConfig. Make sure you typed the name correctly, and then try again. To search for a file, click the Start button, and then click Search.

Once you have made sure you have typed the name correctly, you may face a problem that may have been caused by data corruption, or a virus.

There are basically two possibilities why Windows displays the error message. The first is that the file is no longer in the default directory on the hard drive; The second that the file path in the Registry links to a wrong location or does not exist at all.

Finding MSConfig.exe

The first task is to locate msconfig.exe on the computer system to find out if the program exists. The default directory where Microsoft places the file is \WINDOWS\pchealth\helpctr\binaries on Windows XP systems and Windows\system32\ on Windows Vista systems and newer versions of Windows.

If the file turns out to be in that directory skip ahead to step 2 in which you check the correct file path in the Windows Registry. If the file is not there at all you need to add it back there. The easiest way to do that is by extracting it again from the Windows installation CD or DVD.

Read also:  Manage Windows 10 Search Indexing

To extract it from the Windows CD you need to run a command from the command line. Press Windows-R, type cmd and hit the Enter-key.

Type in the following command if you run Windows XP: (assuming E is the letter of the drive containing the Windows CD and C:\WINDOWS\ the location of the Windows installation.

EXPAND -R E:\I386\MSCONFIG.EX_ C:\WINDOWS\PCHEALTH\HELPCTR\BINARIES

Windows Vista users run the following command instead: (again assuming E is the DVD drive and C:\Windows the Windows installation directory)

EXPAND -R E:\I386\MSCONFIG.EX_ C:\WINDOWS\SYSTEM32

Correcting the msconfig path

msconfig.exe

Windows stores path information about selected applications in the Windows Registry. Start the Windows Registry by using Windows-R, typing regedit, and hitting the enter-key. Then navigate to the following Registry key:

HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\App Paths

Check if an entry named msconfig.exe exists. If it does check the default value which should be the path information pointing right to the location of msconfig.exe in the Windows directory. You can double-click the default entry to change the path if it is the wrong one.

If the msconfig.exe key does not exist in the Windows Registry do the following:

  • Right-click the App Paths key and select New > Key from the menu that is appearing.
  • Name the new key MSCONFIG.EXE.
  • Double-click the default value in the right window and add the full path to msconfig.exe as the value.

The changes are immediate which means it is possible to try to run msconfig again to see if the change has fixed the problem.

Summary
Article Name
Windows Cannot Find Msconfig
Description
The guide walks you through the steps of restoring access to the msconfig file in Windows if the program cannot be accessed anymore.
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Publisher
Ghacks Technology News
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Responses to Windows Cannot Find Msconfig

  1. Enigma April 11, 2009 at 8:44 pm #

    You forgot the 3rd option some versions of windows just don't have it IE XP home.

  2. Martin April 11, 2009 at 9:50 pm #

    Enigma you are right, great addition.

  3. Anonymous April 12, 2009 at 9:32 am #

    awesome!!!

    This missing msconfig thing has been bugging me for a long time.

    Your tutorial fixed my problem like a breeze.

    Thanks bud! keep up the good work

  4. njlioness September 10, 2009 at 9:38 pm #

    You are awesome....thanks so much!!

  5. aan November 17, 2009 at 2:39 am #

    nice guidance, thank you very much

  6. RWalsh November 24, 2009 at 5:34 am #

    Very good, I just discovered the “Windows cannot find MSConfig” message also appears when the Disk Cleanup Utility is running or when too many things are running at the same time.

  7. Vince March 6, 2010 at 4:58 pm #

    This worked like a charm!!

    Thanks. :)

  8. Yi-Yu April 11, 2011 at 5:36 am #

    It works. Thanks a lot.
    It seems CCleaner moved MSconfig key, because I used the startup control function in CCleaner last week. @[email protected]

  9. ROET May 5, 2011 at 10:23 am #

    HEY BUDDY YOU R DOIN GREAT JOB!!!!!!!!

  10. Wild Bill August 7, 2011 at 6:44 am #

    Sooo gooood! Your direction was concise & brilliant!! Seems like CCleaner did me the same as I too used the start-up control few days ago also. Worked like a charm!! Thx sooo much!!

  11. Randy February 2, 2012 at 6:05 pm #

    Thanks a lot!

  12. Philip Hixenbaugh February 15, 2012 at 11:42 pm #

    Now, my problem seems to go deeper then you've discussed here, I can't find msconfig.exe .
    seems I have a virus that is locking me out of all the fixes I try.

  13. Greg April 19, 2012 at 10:46 am #

    Hey - zillion thanks. MSCONFIG runs now.

    Did a malwarebyte scan and cleaned the computer before inserting the path into the HKEY.

    Rgds - Greg

  14. Nickle Plate July 20, 2012 at 2:52 am #

    Exactly. First accurate info I've come across all day. Thank you very much

  15. rexx123456 August 15, 2012 at 7:10 am #

    This worked great. Thanks!
    I suspect that an update from Microsoft (possibly Internet Explorer 8) may have caused this problem.

  16. Brian September 7, 2012 at 8:06 am #

    I was able to understand/follow your directions but unfortunately my MSCONFIG command still brings up the unable to find error.

    I am running windows XP

  17. Nickle Plate September 12, 2012 at 4:38 am #

    Beware! msconfig is usually hidden in window's system or p.c. health folders for a good reason. This is because msconfig has been has been used as a convenient instrument to install a virus.

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