Microsoft KB Archive/117674

From BetaArchive Wiki

How to Create SYSTEM.INI Without Third-Party Drivers


The information in this article applies to:

  • Microsoft Visual C++, versions 1.0, 1.5, 1.51, 1.52


You can use your original Microsoft Windows or Windows for Workgroups disks to create a new SYSTEM.INI file for your specific hardware. This may be useful for troubleshooting or for replacing a damaged or deleted SYSTEM.INI file.

NOTE: As a precaution, you may want to start the Setup program with the original SYSTEM.INI file and then press "Print Screen" so that you have a printed copy of your settings. You can then use this as a reference when you reset the settings. Always keep a backup of the SYSTEM.INI file.


To create a new SYSTEM.INI file that is configured for your specific hardware but does not contain any references to third-party device drivers, perform the following steps:

  1. Rename the SYSTEM.INI file as SYSTEM.BAK.
  2. Expand the file SYSTEM.SR_ from the original Windows disks to the \Windows directory by using the following command:

    c:\windows\expand a:\system.sr_ c:\windows\system.ini

    NOTE: This file can be found on disk 1 of the Windows version 3.1 1.44-MB (3.5-inch) disk set or disk 2 of the 1.2-MB (5.25-inch) disk set. The file is on disk 3 of the Windows for Workgroups version 3.1 disk set (either size).
  3. Change to the Windows drive, and then change to the \Windows directory. For example:

    cd \windows
  4. Type "setup" (without the quotation marks) to start the MS-DOS portion of Windows Setup.
  5. Select the correct hardware options for your system. They are blank by default.

    NOTE: For a list of valid choices, move your cursor to the blank field and then press Enter.
  6. Accept the changes. (At this point, you can even have Setup copy new drivers if you want.)
  7. Open the new SYSTEM.INI file in a text editor (for example, the MS-DOS version 5.0 Editor). Make the following changes to the SYSTEM.INI file:

    1. Add PROGMAN.EXE to the SHELL= line in the [Boot] section.
    2. Remove or remark out the Taskman.exe= line in the [Boot] section.
    3. If you are running Windows for Workgroups, add the following line to the [Boot] section:


      Then, modify the network= line in the [386Enh] section, as follows (this should all appear on one line):

  8. To enable 32-bit disk access, add the following lines to the [386Enh] section:


    Replace "<Boolean>" with True if you want 32-bit disk access enabled, or False if you do not want 32-bit disk access enabled.

    For more information on 32-bit disk access, see Appendix D in the "Windows Resource Kit" or query on the following words in the Microsoft Knowledge Base:

    Windows and 3.1 and 32-Bit and Disk and Access

  9. Add the line "Transport=vnb.386" (without the quotation marks) to the [386Enh] section so that the network functionality will load when you restart Windows for Workgroups.
  10. Start Windows. If you do not receive any errors, you have successfully recreated your SYSTEM.INI file.

    If you receive error message S020 or S021, the SYSTEM.INI file you created may be corrupted. To correct this problem, do the following:

    1. Check for a duplicate SYSTEM.INI file by typing "DIR C:\ SYSTEM.INI /S" (without the quotation marks) at the MS-DOS prompt.
    2. Run CHKDSK to check for lost allocation units by typing "CHKDSK /F" (without the quotation marks) at the MS-DOS prompt.
    3. Make sure your hard disk has sufficient free space.
    4. Delete the corrupt SYSTEM.INI file and then follow the steps above, starting with step 2.
    5. If all else fails, reinstall Windows.

NOTE: You will need to add the following three lines to the system.ini if you are using VC++ 1.x (16bit):


Additional query words: 1.00 1.50 3.10 kbinf re-create rebuild clean boot expanding hardware system.tmp vanilla

Keywords : kb16bitonly
Issue type :
Technology : kbVCsearch kbAudDeveloper kbvc150 kbvc100 kbVC151 kbVC152

Last Reviewed: May 9, 2001
© 2001 Microsoft Corporation. All rights reserved. Terms of Use.