INI File

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" and "properties".

In MS-DOS and 16-bit Windows platforms, the INI file served as the primary mechanism to configure operating system features, such as device drivers. INI files were also generally used by applications to store their individual settings.

Starting with Windows 95, 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 extensions are .CFG, .conf, and .TXT.

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 an ideal format for configuration files that do not require much complexity.

Read more about INI FileExample, Accessing INI Files, File Mapping, Alternatives

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