Before Windows 95, all configuration settings for applications were stored in .ini files. All .ini files have a similar structure, which is represented in the following code section:
[section one] setting one = "my mystery word" setting two = 42 [section two] setting one = "another mystery word" setting two = 75
The system.ini file contains settings that are used specifically by Windows. The type information that is found in this file includes device settings and settings that are used when loading the Windows kernel. The system.ini file isn't used much these days, compared to its importance in Windows 3.x, but it still finds use when you need to load 16-bit MS-DOS real-mode drivers. If you check your system.ini file, you should see settings for your mouse and video. Here is a sample of what to expect:
[386Enh] device=*vshare device=*dynapage device=*vcd device=*vpd device=*int13 mouse=*vmouse, msmouse.vxd woafont=dosapp.fon COM1Fifo=0 keyboard=*vkd display=*vdd,*vflatd [boot] system.drv=system.drv drivers=mmsystem.dll power.drv user.exe=user.exe gdi.exe=gdi.exe sound.drv=mmsound.drv dibeng.drv=dibeng.dll comm.drv=comm.drv shell=Explorer.exe keyboard.drv=keyboard.drv fonts.fon=vgasys.fon fixedfon.fon=vgafix.fon oemfonts.fon=vgaoem.fon 386Grabber=vgafull.3gr display.drv=pnpdrvr.drv mouse.drv=mouse.drv *DisplayFallback=0 SCRNSAVE.EXE=
In this example system.ini file, you can see these settings:
- In the [386Enh] section,
- File and printer sharing is initialized with *vshare.
- Real-mode support for the mouse and video display is loaded with *vmouse, msmouse.vxd, *vdd, and *vflatd.
- In the [boot] section,
- Power management support is loaded with power.drv.
- The sound card is initialized with mmsound.drv.
- Serial communication is initialized with comm.drv.
- The system shell application is set with shell=Explorer.exe.
If the system.ini file is lost or corrupted, you will likely have problems with all the devices that rely on it. Because Windows 9x stores some video configuration in this file, you tend to see problems quickly. If the system.ini file is missing, all versions of Windows create a new one and start loading the settings back in. This file is not used by the MS-DOS boot process.
In this tutorial:
- System Files and the Boot Process
- Power-On Self-Test (POST) Process
- Standard Boot Process for Windows XP
- ARC pathnames
- The device load process
- Loading the shell
- Understanding the Boot Process for MS-DOS and Windows 9x
- win.com and vmm32
- Managing Memory
- Expanded memory
- Upper memory
- Examining Other Boot Process Files