How to Remove Blank Entries from the MSConfig Startup Tab in Windows XP

Sometimes after uninstalling software, you may end up with blank entries in the System Configuration Utility (MSConfig.exe) in Windows XP. This happens if the startup entry is present in the registry with blank value data. This article tells you how to remove those orphaned entries by editing the registry.

Removing Blank Startup Items from MSConfig

1. First, enable the item if it’s already disabled, and then click Apply. This moves back the entry to the "Run" registry key, which you can edit manually.

2. Note down where the blank entry is located in the registry, by expanding and viewing the Location column. (Hint: HKLM represents HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE registry branch, and HKCU means HKEY_CURRENT_USER)

3. Click Start, Run. Type Regedit.exe and press ENTER.

4. Navigate to the registry branch that you noted in Step 2.

5. Right-click on the value which has blank data, and choose Delete.

Additional Note: If the (Default) or unnamed value has blank data, you’ll have to delete that as well. Right-click on the (Default) and choose Delete. It should now read as (value not set)

Editor’s Note: MSConfig in Windows Vista and Windows 7 no longer displays the "blank" entries. See this screenshot.

About the author

Ramesh Srinivasan founded Winhelponline.com back in 2005. He is passionate about Microsoft technologies and has a vast experience in the ITeS industry — delivering support for Microsoft's consumer products. He has been a Microsoft MVP [2003 to 2012] who contributes to various Windows support forums.

4 thoughts on “How to Remove Blank Entries from the MSConfig Startup Tab in Windows XP

  1. THIS HAS BEEN ENORMOUSLY HELPFUL….SO MUCH EASIER THAN ALL THE OTHER STUFF I FOUND, AND IT ACTUALLY INCLUDES ADDITIONAL (CRUCIAL) DETAIL RE: ENABLING SERVICE BEFORE EDITING REGISTRY. ALL THE OTHER STUFF WHICH APPEARED TO BE HIGHLY TECHNICAL WAS NOT ONLY FRIGHTENING AND IMPOSSIBLE TO UNDERSTAND, IT DIDN’T INCLUDE THIS DETAIL (SO I COULDN’T FIND THE ITEM IN THE REGISTRY UNDER THE HKLM KEY)!!
    THIS EXPLANATION WAS SIMPLY WRITTEN BUT ALSO CORRECT!! JUST AMAZING.
    THANK YOU THANK YOU THANK YOU THANK YOU THANK YOU!!

  2. It is realy helpful for me bcoz i am facing such issue for long time due to viruses infection.

    thanks………lot.

    One thing pls help me for –BOOT.INI Tab is not found in “msconfig”

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