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IO.SYS, MSDOS.SYS CONFIG.SYS in XP what gives?

Posted on 2005-03-25
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Last Modified: 2008-01-09
Ok, I know that XP is not supposed to have IO.SYS, MSDOS.SYS and CONFIG.SYS because it is NT based.  Why do I have these files though?  They are empty (checked all with notepad and say 0 k).  Was this a result of the virus I just cleaned off, is it safe to delete, or am I just too dumb about XP and they should be there (doubt that one)
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Question by:rmcferren
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6 Comments
 
LVL 7

Expert Comment

by:Worked4me
ID: 13630692


  HI rmcferren,

  These files are for backwards compatability.  They are used by some DOS based applications
  and these applications sometimes will not work correctly without those files.
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Expert Comment

by:MrBillisMe
ID: 13630736
I don't find them on this XP machine, if they are empty they can be deleted. You didn't say which virus but the files being there does not appear normal.
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by:rmcferren
ID: 13630778
Ok there were four:
Downloader.Small.12.BQ
Downloader.Small.24.BP
Backdoor.Small.14,AM
Dropper.Small.12.AS (Two Occurences)
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LVL 7

Expert Comment

by:Worked4me
ID: 13630934

  MrBillisMe,

  These are located in the root folder of C:\ normally and are hidden by default.
  Open Windows Explorer, select Tools, Folder Options, and select show hidden files
  and they will appear.  As previously mentioned they are for backwards compatability
  with DOS based apps and you may not need them but if they are taking up 0 KB why
  not just leave them.

  Not sure of your antivirus protection but you should delete any of the files that maybe
  quarintined or backed up.  
 
  I always like to run another antivirus program since they will sometimes locate a virus
  my original antivirus program missed.
  http://housecall.trendmicro.com/

  You which I pretty sure you already know about download and use
  Adaware
  http://www.download.com/Ad-Aware-SE-Personal-Edition/3000-8022_4-10045910.html?part=dl-ad-aware&subj=dl&tag=top5

  Spybot
  http://www.safer-networking.org/en/mirrors/index.html

  For spyware I have found a program that I think is better than Spybot, but it's not free
  CounterSpy
  http://www.sunbelt-software.com/CounterSpy.cfm
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Accepted Solution

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thcit earned 1000 total points
ID: 13630943
As long as you are not using a 16 bit application such as a dos based application, then it is alright to delete the files.  XP now uses the registry to store this type of information, however if the a program insist on using the file base storing of information upon installation XP will use the ".NT" version of the file rather than the ".SYS".  The problem is that when a user performs an installation of a 16 bit program, XP prevents "Users" from writing to the %SystemRoot% folder.  As you already know the ".SYS" version of the files are located at the root level of your primary partition.

NOTE: "The only exception to this rule is during the installation of 16-bit code. If 16-bit code uses these files, Windows XP security prevents Users from writing to files in the %SystemRoot% folder."
 http://msdn.microsoft.com/library/default.asp?url=/library/en-us/apcompat/apcompat/use_the_registry_rather_than_the_windows_configuration_files.asp

Hope this settles your stomach!

BBS
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Expert Comment

by:MrBillisMe
ID: 13634467
I think I must have rechecked "the hide system files" when I did search at work, I certainly see the files on my home PC.
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