Windows System Files: Everything you need to know

In this article we will show you what are System Files on Windows. Windows system file is any file that has the hidden system attribute enabled. In practice, system files are those files that Windows depends on to function properly. These include hardware drivers, configuration and DLL files, and even the various hive files that make up the Windows registry.

These files are often changed automatically during system updates or application installations, but in general it’s best to leave system files alone. Deleting, moving, renaming or changing these files can cause a complete system failure. For this reason, they are often hidden and read-only. However, there are many hacks and tweaks, including some that we have presented on this website, where system files are modified.

Everything You Need to Know About Windows System Files

What are Windows system files and why are they needed

Windows system files are files necessary for the normal functioning of the operating system, its interaction with the user, and the normal operation of peripheral devices. Any operating system consists of many system files. That is why changing or removing them may affect the performance of the operating system, make the computer very slow or cause critical failures. Besides, drivers are also system files that exchange information between the operating system and all connected devices.

For example, if you uninstall the driver for your graphics card, it will stop working correctly. System files also include various configuration and .dll files, as well as various Windows registry files. System files are often changed automatically during system updates or application installations, but as a rule, it is better not to touch them yourself. However, sometimes the user has to go into the system folders to achieve certain goals.

The Different Types of System File Extensions on Windows

You will come across different types of system files on Windows. Here are nine examples of such files by extension type:

SYS: A file with a SYS extension is a Windows boot file. It contains information, such as settings and configurations, that Windows needs to function properly. These files are essential for Windows to run, which is why you’ll find that the operating system hides them and sets permissions to protect them from tampering.

DLL: DLL (Dynamic Linked Library) is a file that contains a set of instructions and configurations that Windows programs use to perform tasks. Multiple Windows programs can access a single DLL simultaneously, reducing their need to put more information into physical memory or have extra lines of code.

ICO: ICO (Icon File) is a file consisting of one or more images. Windows uses this file to graphically represent the program’s executable file. So when you see a shortcut icon on your desktop, for example, just know that its image is stored in an ICO file.

LNK: A file with the extension LNK stands for a Windows shortcut. This means that when you double-click on it, you will get quick access to a specific item on your computer, such as an application, file, or folder. These types of system files are usually associated with desktop shortcuts.

INI: The INI file is a configuration file that contains instructions for Windows programs to execute.

Taxi: A CAB file or Cabinet file is a compressed library of files, which includes other systems and software files and driver installation files. They’re Microsoft’s archived file type, and the data inside is compressed using lossless compression.

MSI: An MSI (Microsoft System Installer) file is a file that contains a set of instructions that tell Windows Installer – the program responsible for installing and uninstalling software – how to install a program.

DMP: A DMP file is known as a Windows Memory Dump file, and the operating system creates it when an application encounters an error or crash. By analyzing the DMP file, you can find out what went wrong with a badly running program.

TMP: Windows programs use TMP (temporary file) files to store temporary data during execution. These files are not really important and they improve the performance of the application. They are usually deleted by the program once it is closed.

How To Show Hidden System Files in Windows

Although system files are hidden by default in Windows, it is easy enough to let Windows show them. Just remember that deleting, moving, editing or renaming these files can cause all sorts of problems. We advise you to leave system files hidden in most cases. If you intentionally work with system files while applying a hack or optimization, show them and hide them again when you are done.

Step 1: To show system files in Windows, start by open Windows file Explorer. In File Explorer, head to View > Options > Change Folder and Search Options.

Step 2: In the Folder Options window, switch to the “View” tab, and then remove the tick on the “Hide protected operating system files” option. Click “OK” when you’re done.

Step 3: You’ll now be able to see hidden system files. Note that the icons for system files appear dimmer than the icons for non-system files, to help signify their importance.

What Happens If System Files Become Corrupted

It really depends on which system files are damaged. Symptoms can range from applications not starting (or crashing) to blue screen errors or even Windows not starting. If you suspect that system files are damaged or missing, there are some built-in system tools that can help. System File Checker (SFC) checks Windows system files and can replace any missing or damaged files. The DISM (Deployment Image Servicing and Management) command can be used to fix underlying problems that prevent the SFC from doing its job.

If you use both commands together, you should be able to successfully repair missing or damaged system files. SFC scans your computer for all Windows system files for corruption or other changes. If it finds a changed file, it automatically replaces it with the correct version. If all else fails and none of these options work, you can always upgrade or reset your computer to its default state. This option should be used only as a last resort. All your personal files will be preserved, but all subsequently downloaded applications will be removed.

Final Words

We hope you like this article on everything you need to know about system files on Windows. A system file is an important document in a computer system, without which it cannot function properly or at all. These files are usually part of the operating system that uses them for its main functions, or they can be part of a device driver or another type of resource. If you facing issue to accessing the Windows system file, so we recommend you to first update your PC to windows 11 before fixing it.

I hope you understand this article, Windows System Files: Everything you need to know.

Editorial Staff
Editorial Staff
The Bollyinside editorial staff is made up of tech experts with more than 10 years of experience Led by Sumit Chauhan. We started in 2014 and now Bollyinside is a leading tech resource, offering everything from product reviews and tech guides to marketing tips. Think of us as your go-to tech encyclopedia!


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