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How-To Geek

Initialization File

Initialization files, or as they are more commonly known, INI files, are an artifact left over from earlier versions of Windows. Prior to Windows 95, Windows stored critical system variables in INI files (which were essentially just text documents with variable lists in them). Starting with Windows 95, all these settings were found in the Windows Registry system and Microsoft encouraged software developers to do the same.

Encouragement aside, Windows continued to support INI files, and many programs even today (especially portable applications) store all their settings in local INI files kept with the executable and not in the system registry.

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