Opening INI files

Have a problem opening a .INI file? We collect information about file formats and can explain what INI files are. Additionally we recommend software suitable for opening or converting such files.

What is the .INI file type?

A short for 'Initialization,' the .ini extension serves to identify initialization/configuration files (INI) in Microsoft (MS) Windows and other OS'es. Historically, INI files were used to store system and application configuration settings in MS-DOS and MS Windows for decades.

An INI file is a small text-based (ASCII or Unicode) file with configurations settings listed in sections. Thanks to their simple structured format, INI files are easily readable both by humans and machines.

In MS Windows, INI files handle several vital system configuration tasks. For instance, the 'boot.ini' file at the system disk's root governs the initial boot-up process, while the 'win.ini' and 'system.ini' files are used for compatibility with legacy applications. These three INI files can be edited in any text editor or with the System Settings (msconfig.exe) tool.

Along the same line, the .ini extension is used by many user applications as well as operating systems as a label for various (mostly, text-based) configuration files.

A generic .ini file contains application configuration settings divided in sections. INI files are used to define paths and filenames, local and environment variables, any application-specific constants and strings, etc. When launched, an application would search for its .ini file, read it and set up its runtime preferences, according to the settings in the INI file.

Although most applications now store their configuration data both in the system registry and XML-based files, INI files with their lightweight syntax can still cover simple configuration needs.

Software to open or convert INI files

You can open INI files with the following programs:
UltraEdit by IDM Computer Solutions, Inc.
Notepad++ by Notepad++ Team
GetDiz by Outertech

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