Microsoft KB Archive/105686

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Deleting Windows 3.1 After Installing Windows NT

Article ID: 105686

Article Last Modified on 10/31/2006


  • Microsoft Windows NT Advanced Server 3.1
  • Microsoft Windows NT Workstation 3.1
  • Microsoft Windows NT Advanced Server 3.1

This article was previously published under Q105686


If you install Windows NT 3.1 or Windows NT 3.1 Advanced Server over Windows 3.1 or Windows for Workgroups 3.1, the Windows NT files are installed to a subdirectory under the existing WINDOWS directory called SYSTEM32.

NOTE: The original Microsoft Windows directory may be called WIN31 or any number of other names because it is user-configurable, but for the purposes of this article, WINDOWS is the assumed name of the directory.

Some files from the original Windows 3.1 installation are used by the Windows NT operating system, however, and should not be deleted. This article describes how to remove the original Windows installation without affecting Windows NT, to help maximize your available disk space.


WARNING: This information applies only to Window NT 3.1. If you remove the files indicated in this article from your computer running a later version of Windows NT, for example, Windows NT 3.5 or 3.51, Windows NT stops functioning properly.

Windows NT 3.1 and Windows NT 3.1 Advanced Server use the existing fonts installed in the SYSTEM subdirectory, so you should not remove any of the .FOT, .TTF, or .FON files from the existing SYSTEM subdirectory.

In addition, many Microsoft and third-party manufacturer' applications store various .DLL files in the WINDOWS directory and the SYSTEM subdirectory. Windows NT does not require these files, but the individual application that initially installed them may require them to operate properly.

If you have stored any data files (such as with Notepad or Paintbrush) in the WINDOWS directory, these files should be backed up or copied to a different location. It is also a good idea to have backup copies of all .INI and .GRP files in the WINDOWS directory, because new users will not be able to migrate Windows 3.1 settings without these files. Once all these files have been backed up or copied, the remainder of the files in the WINDOWS directory can be safely removed without affecting the base Windows NT installation.

Important: If you delete files required by a Windows application, you might have to reinstall that application in order for it to work properly. The safest way to do this is to keep backup copies of the files.

Additional query words: wfw wfwg prodnt TrueType disappear uninstall

Keywords: kbsetup KB105686