INF FILES

2/9/2001

INF Files are installation scripts used by Microsoft to install hardware and hardware drivers in Microsoft 32 bit operating systems -- Windows95, 98, Me, NT, 2000. They can also be used to install non-hardware related software, but that is more generally done via compiled SETUP programs. INF scripts replace OEMSETUP scripts used in Windows 3.

INF scripts are quite flexible and can specify automatic operations, hardware operations and interrogations, as well as user interrogations. For example, searches for new hardware use a script called MSDET.INF. Most of the Windows 9 INF files are stored in a hidden WINDOWS\INF directory.

Documentation on INF files can be found in Microsoft Development Kits. The documentation is often obscure. The formats of the files are rather odd and seem inordinately complex. Defective files -- especially incorrect path specifications for file source directories -- are quite common.

The scripts themselves are written in ASCII. There is nothing that prevents a user from creating or modifying INF files, but few users do so.

Return To Index Copyright 1994-2002 by Donald Kenney.