What is the System32 Directory? (and Why You Shouldn't Delete It)

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Deleting System32 will not velocity up your PC.

System32 files connected WIndows. Hannah Stryker / How-To Geek

Key Takeaways

  • The System32 files successful Windows is important for nan operating strategy to usability properly, containing important strategy files and libraries.
  • Deleting nan System32 files will consequence successful a surgery Windows operating system, requiring a reinstallation to fix.
  • The System32 files whitethorn perchance beryllium a hiding spot for malware, truthful it's important to regularly scan your PC pinch an antivirus program.

The C:\Windows\System32 directory is simply a captious portion of nan Windows operating strategy wherever important strategy files are stored. Some pranksters online whitethorn show you to delete it, but you shouldn't — and we'll show precisely what happens if you try.

What is nan System32 Folder?

The System32 files located astatine C:\Windows\System32 is portion of each modern versions of Windows. It contains important operating strategy files that Windows needs successful bid to usability properly.

This directory contains galore different types of files, but DLL and EXE are immoderate of nan astir communal types you'll find if you commencement digging done nan folder. Dynamic Link Library (DLL) files are shared room files utilized by Windows programs — some utilities built into Windows and third-party programs you instal — to execute various functions.

The EXE files successful nan System32 files correspond various Windows strategy utilities. For example, erstwhile you motorboat nan Task Manager, Windows opens nan Taskmgr.exe programme record located wrong nan System32 folder.

Many much important strategy files are located here, too. For example, nan C:\Windows\System32\Drivers files contains nan SYS files associated pinch hardware drivers, which your strategy needs to decently pass pinch its hardware. Even nan system-wide Windows Registry files are stored here, successful nan C:\Windows\System32\Config folder.

Despite its name, nan System32 files is important even connected 64-bit versions of Windows, wherever it still contains important strategy libraries and executables successful 64-bit form.

What Happens If You Try to Delete Your System32 Folder

There's a dumb prank that's been floating astir nan Internet for a agelong time, wherever jokers effort to instrumentality group into deleting their System32 folder. You shouldn't do this, since nan System32 files is important. If you really did delete your System32 folder, this would break your Windows operating strategy and you'd request to reinstall Windows to get it moving decently again.

To demonstrate, we tried deleting nan System32 files truthful we tin spot precisely what happens.

We tried deleting nan files usually connected some Windows 10 and Windows 7, and some wisely prevented america from deleting this strategy files pinch a "Folder Access Denied" message. But we're stubborn, truthful we sewage astir that.

We really wanted to spot what would happen, truthful we took ownership of nan System32 files and gave our Windows personification relationship afloat power complete its contents.

We past tried deleting nan files again, but Windows said we couldn't delete it because files wrong nan System32 files were unfastened successful different program.

We're already learning 1 point here: It's very difficult to really delete your System32 folder. If personification ever says "Oops, I accidentally deleted my System32 folder," there's a bully chance they're joking. It takes immoderate determination and digging done precocious settings.

Frustrated pinch File Explorer, we decided to motorboat nan Command Prompt and usage the


command to delete arsenic galore files successful System32 arsenic we could. The bid still wouldn't touch immoderate files that were presently successful use, but it deleted galore different ones.

Windows started to autumn isolated aft we deleted galore of nan files successful nan System32 folder. We tried opening nan Start paper and clicking nan powerfulness button, but thing happened. We past tried opening nan Task Manager — and we were informed that nan Task Manager itself nary longer exists. We saw errors erstwhile we clicked different paper options successful Windows, too.

We couldn't look to powerfulness down nan machine normally, truthful we forcibly rebooted it to spot what would happen. Windows tried to footwear into Automatic Repair but couldn't repair our PC, possibly because we deleted nan repair files.

Finally, we clicked "Advanced options" and told Windows to footwear anyway. Nothing happened. We conscionable saw a achromatic surface for a 2nd earlier nan machine booted into Automatic Repair mode erstwhile again. Clearly, important files required for booting Windows were gone and nan operating strategy couldn't moreover statesman to start.

It's not a large surprise: Deleting System32 breaks Windows. There's nary large satisfying detonation erstwhile you break things, either. Parts of Windows conscionable abruptly commencement failing while you're utilizing it, and past Windows refuses to footwear up again.

And again, reinstalling Windows was nan only fix.

How to Check For Malware

While nan System32 files isn't malware itself and you shouldn't effort to delete it, it's imaginable for malware that infects your PC to hide anyplace — moreover wrong nan System32 folder. If you're concerned your PC whitethorn person malware, you should execute a strategy scan pinch your favourite antivirus program.

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