A+ Certification / Beginners


Like system.ini, win.ini was heavily used by both Windows 3.x and its applications. Today, it is used primarily for backward compatibility with older applications, although it still stores some settings. Here is a sample of some of the information found in a win.ini file:

device=EPSON Stylus COLOR 600,EPS600,LPT1:


txt=notepad.exe ^.txt
bmp=C:\Progra~1\Access~1\mspaint.exe ^.bmp
vdo=VDOLIV32.EXE ^.vdo
Q97=C:\QCKTAX97\QTAX97.EXE ^.Q97
Q99=C:\QUICKTAX\Qtax99.exe ^.Q99

This sample illustrates common items that you will find in your win.ini file. run lines automatically load applications when the shell loads. device lines in the win.ini file make hardware devices available for older applications that need to use them. Wallpaper and desktop settings are here as well. Finally, for more backward compatibility, wini.ini contains a mapping of some of the registered file extensions.

Corruption or deletion of the win.ini file tends to be less noticeable than that of the system.ini file, but it will still cause problems with older applications that refer to the information that is found in the file. If you have a problem with an older application, you should be able to fix the problem by re-installing the application.


The System Configuration Editor, which you open by typing sysedit.exe at a command prompt, gives you quick access to your main configuration files - win.ini, system.ini, protocol.ini, config.sys - and to autoexec.bat. It is capable of editing and saving these files. This task could have been accomplished with any text editor, but it is far easier to just type sysedit.

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