INI (Windows Initialization File)

The INI Settings file format

The INI file format is a configuration or initialization file used by several platforms and software. They are, for example, used by Windows programs and contain information about the initialization of different program settings. Settings and preferences are separated in sections containing parameters like name and value. Since INI files contain plain text, they can be opened and edited in any text editor. However, it is not advised to apply any changes to INI files, otherwise the correct function of the program attached can not be guaranteed anymore.

Technical details of INI files

The plain text that makes up the content of an INI file is usually written down using ASCII. The structure of the sections inside the INI files contains the title of the section in square brackets and a list of configuration options. Commonly controlled by INI files are functions that need to be initialized when booting Windows, like fonts, drivers, applications ans startup launchers. In Windows 95, the registry database introduced in this version of Windows partially replaced the usage of INI files. With the rise of XML files, the format can now be regarded as deprecated.

More information about the INI file format

File extension .ini
File category Settings
Associated programs Microsoft Windows
Microsoft Notepad
Microsoft WordPad
Useful links Learn more about INI files
Developer N/A