Using MSCONFIG to Disable a Startup Process

If you are using an IBM 11a/b/g Wireless CardBus – PCMCIA – on a machine running Windows XP with Service Pack 2, you've probably noticed conflicts between XP's Network Connection utitlity (XPNCU) and the IBM Client Utility (IBMCU), as they both attempt to control your wireless connections.

The main symptom of this conflict appears shortly after starting the computer. First, the IBMCU connects to to the wireless hot spot. Then, a moment later, the XPNCU attempts to connect to the hot spot, disconnecting any connection the IBMCU had already established. After this disconnection, the XPNCU refuses to connect to the hot spot, apparently sulking because it is not set up as the primary networking utility.

The manual (read: annoying) work around for this problem involved waiting for the conflict to occur, and then clicking through the advanced settings of the XPNCU, effectively putting it back in control of wireless connections.

I realized that one of the two utilities needs to be disabled. And since it's probably easier to disable third-party software than an integral part of Windows XP, I set my sights on disabling or removing the IBMCU. This proved more difficult than I had anticipated.
  • I went through the Control Panel to find and remove "IBM Client Utility," but it wasn't listed.
  • I phoned IBM's customer support and was told to contact Microsoft. (Thanks IBM!)
  • I e-mailed IBM's customer support, but my inquiry was ignored. (Thanks IBM!)
But, regardless of IBM's lack of interest in helping one of their 'Small Business' customers, I perserved. Here is a solution:
  1. From the Start Menu, click on "Run..." and enter msconfig then click "OK."
  2. When the System Configuration utility opens click on the "Startup" tab at the far right.
  3. Locate the Startup Item called ACU.exe and deselect it by clicking to remove the check from its box.
  4. Click "Apply" and allow XP to restart.
  5. When the system reboots, you will see a dialogue box telling you that you've disabled something, blah blah blah. You can select the option to ignore this dialogue and not run System Configuration on startup in the future.
And now the IBM Client Utility is disabled, and will no longer be a cause for annoyance.

If you have found any errors, omissions, or grounds for legal action, please contact me at "troy" at this domain name. (