Disable osa.exe on Startup

What is Osa.exe?

Osa.exe is the Office Startup Assistant for Microsoft Office applications. This program aims to enhance the performance of Office XP programs. When you install Office, a shortcut to osa.exe is added to the Windows Startup folder. The name of this shortcut is Microsoft Office.

File Information

By default, the osa.exe file is located in the C:\Program Files\Microsoft Office\Office\ folder. The most common size of the file on Windows XP is 83,360 bytes. You may also find it in 51,984, 61,440, 86,016, 52,224, 16,384, and 99,672 bytes sizes. A file signed by Versign, the process makes the following registry entries that enable it to start when your Windows PC starts.

HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\Software\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Explorer\User Shell Folders

HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Explorer\User Shell Folders

HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Explorer\Shell Folders

HKEY_USERS\.DEFAULT\Software\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Explorer\User Shell Folders

Osa.exe: Uses

Basically, osa.exe improves the performance of Office programs by:

  • Initializing the automation process.
  • Initializing common Office XP fonts.
  • Providing shortcuts to common Office commands, such as New Office Document, Open Office Document, Help, and Screen Saver, on the Office Shortcut bar and Start menu.
  • Displaying Microsoft Outlook alerts and notifications when Office Assistant is available.

Osa.exe: Benefits

The main benefit of using osa.exe is speed because the process helps Office XP programs start at a much faster rate.

You can use the following switches with osa.exe to quickly perform various office-related tasks:

Switch Task Performed
-b along with -l Starts the Office Shortcut Bar
-f Opens the Open Office Document dialog box at system startup
-n Opens the New Office Document dialog box at system startup
-s Starts the specified screensaver at system startup
-o Starts the Office Shortcut Bar

Osa.exe: Problems

Although Microsoft says that osa.exe speeds up various Office processes, there are users who have noted that osa.exe actually causes problems by consuming high CPU resources when running on the system.

Osa.exe Problem: Solution

To resolve high CPU usage problems by Osa.exe, you can safely remove or disable osa.exe from system Startup. To do this, open the System Configuration Utility by running the msconfig command. Next, on the Startup tab clear the check box for Office Startup Assistant and then click OK.

Disabling the process will prevent the Office Shortcut bar from loading at system startup and also cause a slight delay when you open Office files.

You can disable osa.exe on the Startups tab. Disabling this is perhaps the better option compared to deleting the file. Some users have experienced problems with their Microsoft Office programs when they deleted the program. The issues were resolved when osa.exe was put back in the system and re-enabled.

If you are concerned that the osa.exe file you have is not a valid file, you can put your fears to rest by running antivirus and anti-spyware scans. You may use efficient programs, such as STOPzilla Antivirus and Spyware Cease for the task.

If you’d like to identify osa.exe related application errors, run a scan with RegServe. This is a superb registry cleaner that can find, fix and prevent errors without placing undue strain on your system.