Duplicate .dll in system32 and i386 directories

Posted on 2004-11-14
Last Modified: 2008-03-03
I recently ran a utiltiy included with "System Mechanic 5" that identifies duplicate .dll files on a system.  It reported that i had over 4gig of duplicate files.  Many of the duplicates have one file located int the "windowss\system32" directory and the duplicate copy in the C:\i386 directory.   I am reluctant to just start deleting files, but i could certainly use the extra space.  Can anyone tell me if it's safe to remove the duplicates from one of these directories without totally screwing up mys sytem.
Question by:ROSinclair
    LVL 65

    Accepted Solution

    Hello ROSinclair =)

    nah nahh DONT REMOVE THEM !!!

    the files which are present in C:\Windiows\System32 folder are required to run Windows properly
    and the files which are present in i386 folder are actually the folder which was copied from the XP CD on your hard drive, so that in case if you will need to repair some windows programs and files, you can take the advantage of this folder, and it can be used to run SFC Scan also !!

    You must be using a laptop or a system which has Recovery CDs, right ??
    if Yes then leave this folder there, dont delete ot alter it, its required,,, and if you really running out of space, then the best option is to burn this folder on a CD and keep it safe somewhere :)
    but DONT delete anything from System32 folder, otherwise you will make your system unbootable !!!
    LVL 28

    Assisted Solution

    The i386 directory is created by the system at install time. It contains the files needed to replace any that are damaged, for use when you install something, etc. Don't touch. If you need more space, hard drives are cheap - add another one.

    Chris B
    LVL 4

    Expert Comment

    Programmers are lazy. When someone writes a library of computer functions (a .dll), we share them as much as possible so we do not have to write our own library of functions. you can have multiple applications, windows system files as well as games, office software, etc... all sharing different dll files. If you uninstall an application and choose to erase a 'shared file' for example, then all the stuff that relied on that specific dll file will fail. Sometimes a programmer will write their software and will include a common dll file but will not install it in the system 32 folder... in that case you may find duplicate dll files in many different folders. It is still best to not touch anything that ends with dll.

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