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The INI file format is an informal standard for configuration files for some platforms or software. INI files are simple text files with a basic structure composed of sections, properties, and values.<ref>Microsoft TechNet: Configure an Ini File Item</ref>

In MS-DOS and 16-bit Windows platforms up through Windows ME, the INI file served as the primary mechanism to configure operating system and installed applications features, such as device drivers, fonts, startup launchers, and things that needed to be initialized in booting Windows. INI files were also generally used by applications to store their individual settings.<ref>Microsoft: Windows NT Workstation Resource Kit</ref>

In Windows NT Microsoft introduced the registry, and began to steer developers away from using INI files for configuration. All subsequent versions of Windows have used the Windows Registry for system configuration, and applications built on the .NET Framework use special XML .config files. The APIs still exist in Windows, however, and developers may still use them.

The name "INI file" comes from the commonly used filename extension, .INI, which stands for "initialization". Other common initialization file extensions are .CFG, .conf,<ref>.conf initialization files</ref> and .TXT,<ref>See Trainz which uses config.txt for virtually all data base assets. (Trainsoptions.txt is that app's version of a .ini file)</ref> especially 'config.txt' occurrences.

Linux and Unix systems also use a similar file format for system configuration. In addition, platform-agnostic software may use this file format for configuration. It is human-readable and simple to parse, so it is a usable format for configuration files that do not require much greater complexity.


INI file sections
Intro   Format    Example    Accessing INI files    File mapping    Alternatives    See also    References    External links   

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Windows::section    Files::registry    Value::source    Sections::property    Entry::parser    Settings::format

The INI file format is an informal standard for configuration files for some platforms or software. INI files are simple text files with a basic structure composed of sections, properties, and values.<ref>Microsoft TechNet: Configure an Ini File Item</ref>

In MS-DOS and 16-bit Windows platforms up through Windows ME, the INI file served as the primary mechanism to configure operating system and installed applications features, such as device drivers, fonts, startup launchers, and things that needed to be initialized in booting Windows. INI files were also generally used by applications to store their individual settings.<ref>Microsoft: Windows NT Workstation Resource Kit</ref>

In Windows NT Microsoft introduced the registry, and began to steer developers away from using INI files for configuration. All subsequent versions of Windows have used the Windows Registry for system configuration, and applications built on the .NET Framework use special XML .config files. The APIs still exist in Windows, however, and developers may still use them.

The name "INI file" comes from the commonly used filename extension, .INI, which stands for "initialization". Other common initialization file extensions are .CFG, .conf,<ref>.conf initialization files</ref> and .TXT,<ref>See Trainz which uses config.txt for virtually all data base assets. (Trainsoptions.txt is that app's version of a .ini file)</ref> especially 'config.txt' occurrences.

Linux and Unix systems also use a similar file format for system configuration. In addition, platform-agnostic software may use this file format for configuration. It is human-readable and simple to parse, so it is a usable format for configuration files that do not require much greater complexity.


INI file sections
Intro   Format    Example    Accessing INI files    File mapping    Alternatives    See also    References    External links   

PREVIOUS: IntroNEXT: Format
<<>>