(INItialization file) A Windows configuration file used to store settings for the operating system or application. In the days of Windows 3.x, the WIN.INI and SYSTEM.INI system files were required by the OS, and applications commonly used the INI format to store settings. Starting with Windows 95, operating system settings were moved to the Registry, and software vendors were encouaged to move their settings to the Registry as well. However, all subsequent versions of Windows continued support for the creation and use of INI files, and they are still widely used by applications.|
Headers and Key-Value Pairs
INI contents are structured with headers enclosed in braces () that define a section containing one or more key-value pairs (data=value). The following example are lines excerpted from the CDE.INI file created by the Windows version of this encyclopedia. The file holds user preferences such as colors, fonts, lookup history and bookmarks. See key-value pair, configuration file, WIN.INI and SYSTEM.INI.