MSConfig Not Found When Using Run Dialogue Box in Windows XP

Anyone who knows me will tell you that I am not a computer expert, by any stretch of the imagination!  I use them as a tool and like them to work when I ask.  I occasionally check on what me PC is loading at start-up as so many bits of software seem to automatically add themselves to the start-up menu without me knowing anything about it, and I end up with lots of processing power being sapped by programmes (‘applications’) that I’m not using, running away unseen in the background.

I recently tried to type ‘msconfig’ into the ‘Run’ dialogue box from the Start menu and received a message  that msconfig could not be found.  I did the usual trawl of the internet and my brain started to implode as the tecchies discussed the inner working of my computer which gave me a headache rather than solve the problem.

In short, there seems to be a number of different reasons for this error message which can be divided into missing msconfig.exe application or problems with files/root keys (technical term).

 I should stress that the first part of any solution is the investigation and therefore, finding out information does not necessarily lead to actions to resolve it! In my case it was pretty straightforward and the advice I received matched my problem exactly.  Changing anything in the Registry or associated files can seriously screw up the workings of your computer so take advice if the solution is not obvious.

Here are the two things I tried:

  1. I checked the folder C:\Windows\PCHealth\HelpCtr\Binaries to see if MSConfig.exe was there. It was so that was good.  If it had been missing, it would have been possible to download MSConfig.exe from the internet and put it in that file.
  2. As  that was all okay I followed the following advice from Ramesh, Microsoft MVP on the web site Tom’s Hardware under ‘Forums’ which was as follows (I’ve edited some of the techno speak and added my own notes for clarity):

A.  This message can appear if MSConfig.exe is missing from the ‘App Paths’ folder.

a.  To find out, go to the Run dialogue box again and type in regedit.  This will open a new window containing the Registry keys

b.  In the left column you’ll see a list of different files/keys starting with the title HKEY_. 

c.  Open the key HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE,

d.  Then find SOFTWARE, open that

e.  Find Microsoft, open that

f.  Find Windows, open that

g.  Find Current Version, open that

h.  Find App Paths.

i.  Under App Paths there should be a folder/key titled MSCONFIG.EXE

If that’s there, open it and check that  the path C:\WINDOWS\PCHealth\HelpCtr\Binaries\MSConfig.exe is shown. 

If this path is missing, double-click on the Default file and type the following path C:\WINDOWS\PCHealth\HelpCtr\Binaries\MSConfig.exe into the field available, then click on OK.  This should solve your problem.

If the MSCONFIG.EXE folder/key is not in the list, right-click on the App Paths folder/key and a drop down menu appears. 

Select New and then choose Key

Type MSCONFIG.EXE and enter OK.  This adds the MSCONFIG.EXE folder/key to the list. 

Select the folder/key you have just created (MSCONFIG.EXE) then, as above, double-click on the Default file to open it and type in C:\WINDOWS\PCHealth\HelpCtr\Binaries\MSConfig.exe

Select OK and this should solve your problem.

As I’ve already said, software and registry issues are hideously complicated so if anything is unclear and the above does not make sense or folder/keys seem to be okay, ALWAYS ask an expert or seek advice. 

From bitter experience I’ve discovered that messing with the registry of a computer can seriously damage your health!


About waywood

Hi & Welcome to my thoughts. I share subjects that are important to me. As you’ll notice, these subjects can be quite broad & varied. I like variety; I like breadth & I like a challenge. I am passionate about helping others overcome their fears, grow in confidence & succeed. Although many people would label me as an achiever, I have battled low confidence, low self-esteem & a couple of nasty, long periods depression over the years. I can’t say, “I know how you feel” but I can hopefully empathise & offer some of the things that are helping me to turn my life around. Please feel free to comment, share & enjoy. Take care, best wishes & keep well Stuart
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28 Responses to MSConfig Not Found When Using Run Dialogue Box in Windows XP

  1. Elaine says:

    thank you !!!

  2. gary says:

    Brilliant…works great.Thanks

  3. Greg says:

    This solved my problem. Thanks you!

  4. says:


  5. waywood says:

    Glad it helped.

  6. Subbu says:

    Thanks a lot. This solved my problem. But my question is, it was working alright until the last time and I wonder how it could have not worked later………….. any ideas?? Thanks again…! Cheers.

  7. Michael says:

    I can’t manage to find OK after creating the new folder, so that it ends up staying open.

  8. Alan Brito says:

    Thanks a lot, this explanation was simple and easy to follow, solved my problem.

    • waywood says:

      Hi Alan, thanks for your feedback and really glad it helped. Appreciate it isn’t going to work on all occasions but hopefully saves a lot of searching, time & effort when it does.

  9. gary says:

    Thanks, perfect solution to my problem !!!!

  10. Karen says:

    Thank You! I have been trying to fix this command for days. It worked beautifully

  11. uday says:

    not working dear

    • waywood says:


      Sorry it didn’t work for you. As I mentioned I am not an expert so it isn’t guaranteed to work for everyone (though clearly it has worked for some).

      Not even Microsoft fully understand their own systems so hope you get the problem sorted.


  12. JC3 says:

    Thank you so much. This is the first site I found that reminded me how to open the registry! Problem solved.

  13. Jim says:

    Ditto the comments above (This is the first site I found that reminded me how to open the registry!)

    Worked exactly as described…..Thank you very much

  14. ashwin says:

    followed the steps…but cant open hikey_local_machine…..the window automatically closes before could select it…i am unable to install other softwares like ccleaner also…in installing ccleaner also i face the same problem..after clicking yes when it asks , ” do you want to allow the program to make changes to your computer?” the installation window closes automatically…

    • waywood says:

      Hi Ashwin

      Really sorry you’re having so much trouble.

      As I mentioned in my post, I am not a computer whizz by any stretch of the imagination so can’t give you any specific technical help. However, when I have had unpredictable behaviour like this previously I have usually done a thorough virus scan but also a malware scan; Malwarebytes make an excellent piece of free software which seems to root out most things that try to hide on your computer.

      You’ve probably already tried it, but have you visited the Microsoft help & forum pages (usually easily found via Google).

      I usually try the simple (free) checks first in situations like this as when you look on the techie forums they’ll have you replacing most expensive bits of your computer & still not resolve the issue. In one such case, tech forums had reommended replacing motherboards, increasing RAM, repplacing the main transformer when the final solution to that particular problem was simply unplug the computer from the mains for 3 minutes to allow capacitors to discharge, then everything worked fine!

      Sorry I can’t be any more help but really hope you find a solution to your problem soon.

      Best wishes


  15. Brian S Rao says:

    Thanks Stuart,
    It worked

  16. Leonard says:

    Hey thanks a lot. You helped me solve the problem when the ‘experts’ couldn’t.

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