What Is Windows Systems 32?

System 32 is a folder in the Microsoft Windows operating system-based computers required for your computer to run properly. It is present in the drive in which you installed the Windows. For example, if you installed Windows in the C drive then the System 32 folder will be in the C:\Windows directory. It contains files needed by the Windows operating system for performing different activities like system startup, shutdown, file operations like reading, editing and playing music and movie files. System 32 contains many sub-folders used to group together similar operations.

Human hand on laptop keyboard
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Drivers sub-folder inside the System 32 folder contains device drivers required by hardware devices in your computer like printers, hard disks, CD-ROMs, speakers, keyboard and mouse. Device driver basically acts as an intermediary between the operating system and a hardware device. Different devices require different device drivers.


Config sub-folder inside the System 32 folder contains different system configuration files. It contains files like the computer desktop settings, display settings like the wallpaper to display, date and time format, themes to use. Changes that you make to the system are saved here.

Utility Programs

Different utility programs like calculator, character map, Notepad, WordPad, Microsoft paint, and games like Freecell, Solitaire and Hearts are stored inside the System 32 folder. These programs are loaded into the RAM directly from here and executed as and when required.


DirectX sub-folder contains a collection of application programming interfaces (APIs) required for handling tasks related to multimedia, games and videos. There are different versions of DirectX available from DirectX 2 to the latest being DirectX 11.

System 32 Errors

You will receive an error message if the files in the System 32 folder are damaged or deleted.

In a Windows 2000-based computer, if the TCPIP.SYS file is damaged or missing then the following error message is generated: “System Process--Unable to Load Device Driver. \SystemRoot\System32\DRIVERS\ipsec.sys device driver could not be loaded. Error Status was 0xc0000034.\" To overcome this problem, replace the damaged or missing TCPIP.SYS file from the Windows 2000 CD-ROM or reinstall TCP/IP.

In a Microsoft Windows XP-based computer, if the WINSPOOL.DRV file is corrupted when the following error message is generated: “The application or DLL C:\Windows\system32\winspool.drv is not a valid Windows image. Please check this against your installation diskette.” To resolve this error, go to Start > Run. Type \"%Windir%\system32.\" Click \"OK.\" Right click \"WINSPOOL.DRV\" file and click \"Rename.\" Type \"WINSPOOL.DRV.OLD,\" and then press \"Enter.\" Restart the computer for the changes to take effect.