System32 Folder: What it is and why you shouldn’t delete it?

You might have heard many jokes around like “Delete System32 Folder on your Windows system to speed it up” or “Delete System32 folder to remove virus”. 

Well, you should never fall for such nuisance and try to delete System32.

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System32 is an essential folder in your Windows system. This article will help you understand what happens when it gets deleted and how to avoid any unwanted side effects.

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What is System32 Folder?

The System32 Folder is a core folder in Windows OS. It contains important operating system files and folders that are necessary for the smooth functioning of your system. If this folder gets deleted or corrupted, it can cause serious problems with your computer. Some of the key contents of the System32 Folder include:

  • Registry Files: These files contain important system configuration data.
  • DLL Files: These are dynamic link libraries that contain functions used by other programs on your computer.  If you delete or corrupt any of these files, it will affect the performance of those applications as well.
  • INI Files: This file contains important settings related to Windows OS and installed software in your PC such as display, mouse, etc. If this file gets corrupted, some software may not work properly on your machine, so always keep a backup copy for safety reasons.
  • EXE Files: These executable files contain the main program that performs certain tasks related to your system.

The key contents that we have discussed above are the various Windows system utilities and play an important role in the smooth functioning of the Windows operating system, along with all its features and applications installed on the same computer. That’s why we always advise the readers not to delete or alter any important files and folders that are present in System32 Folder. There is no point in doing so as it can only cause problems with your Windows system, and you may have to reinstall it after facing serious issues of data loss due to the corruption of these core files.

What Happens When You Try to Delete Your System32 Folder?

If you delete your System32 Folder, some programs and features of the Windows OS might stop working. The most common symptoms include:

  • Operating System Error Messages: You may get error messages while trying to launch any program on your computer, such as “A required CD/DVD drive device driver is missing” or “Click OK to close this application”.
  • OS Not Responding: You might notice that your Windows system is unresponsive, and the only option you have is to restart it manually.
  • Operating System Crashing: Some users reported that their PC boots up normally, but Windows does not load properly, leading to the constant crashing of the OS. 
  • Problems Booting Up Safe Mode: If you are able to start your Windows PC in safe mode, then there can be many bad files present in your System32 Folder that may cause serious issues with the boot process of the system.

What can you do when your System32 Folder gets Corrupted or Deleted?

As already stated that deleting or corrupting your System32 Folder can lead to many problems with your PC starting from minor annoyances such as OS error messages to major ones like not being able to boot up Windows at all, there is a lot you can do about it. Here are some useful tips for fixing this issue:

Reinstall the Operating System: If you have a good backup of your Windows OS, then reinstalling it will help you restore all the important files present in the System32 Folder. However, make sure that you do not delete or corrupt any of these files while reinstalling your Windows system, as it can also lead to more serious problems with your machine.

Reinstall Your Software: If since your last installation of software some changes were made to essential system files such as DLLs, INI Files, and Registry Entries, then you should uninstall them and then reinstall them again with their default settings to fix this problem. Please note that if one program is responsible for creating some new entries inside the Registry Editor, uninstalling it may cause serious issues, so always create a System Restore Point before going for this option.

Use System File Checker Utility: This is a built-in utility present in Windows that allows you to repair and restore corrupt or missing system files. You can use this easy-to-use software by following the steps mentioned here.

  1. From the Windows search bar, search and launch the Command Prompt with the administrator command prompt as admin
  2. Type this command and hit the Enter key: sfc/scannow.SFC-scan-start
  3. The scanning would start, and it would take some time to complete depending on your system configuration.
  4. After the scan, if it found any problem, the solution would be automatically applied.
  5. Close the Command Prompt window and restart your system.

Restore Previous Versions of Files: If you have previous versions of any file that has been deleted from your System32 Folder, then you can easily restore it using the “Previous Versions” feature available in almost all modern versions of Windows OS such as Windows 10 and 11.

Replace Corrupted DLLs Manually: Reinstalling the entire operating system may not be possible for everybody as not able to back up everything beforehand. In such a case, you can manually replace your corrupted DLL files with the original ones using System File Checker.

How to delete the System32 Folder?

First of all, you should not consider deleting it. And second of all, you probably won’t be able to do that.

When you try to delete the System32 folder, you will get the Folder Access Denied error.

System32 Folder Access Denied error

Still, if you are desperate to destroy your system, you can try deleting the files inside it one by one. Soon the system will stop responding.

It is essential to know that even to access the System32 folder on your system, you require administrative rights and ownership of the folder. Even after getting the administrator rights and ownership, some files will still not get deleted inside the System32 folder, as they might currently be in the use.

What is System32 Virus?

Though the System32 folder is completely safe and in fact the most important folder of the OS, the cybercriminals use its name to create trojans and other dangerous malware.

There are many viruses that are designed in a way to look like the System32 folder. Such viruses are known as “System File Replicators” or “File Replicators.”

These replicating files mimic other essential system files and can cause serious computer performance issues, including boot issues if present in your system. One of the most important things about these virus-related files is that they cannot be deleted normally. You might require specialized antimalware programs to delete them.

Apart from that, if your computer has been infected with a Trojan or any other kind of virus, they can target essential system files, including DLL Files present in the System32 folder, to make them unusable.

This might corrupt your entire OS preventing you from accessing most parts of it. If that happens, all the important files required for booting up Windows will be replaced with corrupted ones, and then your PC will not respond to any command whatsoever.

Summing Up

The System32 is a very important folder in all Windows Operating Systems. It contains many critical system files required by the OS to run properly. Thus, it should be kept safe and secure from any kind of virus or malware threat. Also, you must not delete it manually under any circumstances, for this may lead to more serious issues with your PC performance.

All you need is to have a robust security program on your PC that can keep your machine away from any of these threats.

Is it necessary to keep the System32 Folder on my PC?

Yes, the System 32 folder is required for almost all basic functions of Windows Operating Systems, including opening files, running applications, booting windows, etc.

What is DLL?

DLL stands for Dynamic Link Library. It is a library of smaller executable files that can be used by multiple programs at the same time from their separate processes. The functions that are required by many different programs to run properly are included in a common DLL file and its various versions thus, reducing the size of the application/program as well as giving ease to manage them conveniently.

What are the security threats associated with the System32 Folder?

Some types of viruses may make their way to the System32 folder and infect all the system files associated with it. To do so, all they need is administrative privileges that allow them to overwrite these important files. 

What might happen if I delete the System32 folder in Windows 10?

Your computer will not boot up at all, and you will have to repair or reinstall Windows OS.

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