Did You Know?
System32 isn't the first legitimate file believed to be a malicious virus. Before it, two genuine Windows files - jdbgmgr.exe and sulfnbk.exe were falsely proclaimed over the Internet to be deadly viruses, and instructions were given how to find and remove them. However, unlike System32, deleting them did not cause any significant issues for the user.
Mr. Average Joe: My computer is too darn slow. I am gonna go delete the System32 folder to speed it up.
Mr. Smart Pants: Really? Go ahead!
Mr. Smart Pants: Really? Go ahead!
Poor Mr. Joe! He is about to make a horrible mistake. Soon, he will face the consequences, when his PC stops functioning entirely. But really, how can you blame him? What would you have done, had you been in his place?
Barring the really smart ones, most of us would have run a search on the Internet trying to find ways of speeding up our PC. And, like our amicable Mr. Joe, we would have come across the supposedly best tip to boost our computer speed - Delete the System32 folder!
Why shouldn't we delete it? After all, it's just a redundant folder that we never use. It's one of the basics of computer knowledge isn't it; what do you do to a file or folder on your computer which is taking up a lot of space and which you never use? You delete it, right? Wrong. At least in this instance.
There are very specific reasons why you should never ever delete the System32 folder/files. In the following few lines, we shall first learn what System32 actually is, and later find out why it shouldn't ever be deleted.
What is System32?
System32 is part of the 32-bit Windows Operating System. When you install Windows on your system, it creates certain files and folders in your computer's hard disk. These are called system files. The System32 folder is one of them. It is an important system directory which contains essential files that the Windows OS requires to function properly.
Also, all the applications and software that you install on your computer rely on the presence of this folder to be able to work.
Why Delete it?
Why indeed? Most Internet users usually come across this idea from online forums and chats. Their computers have slowed down (for different reasons), and when they ask for advice on how to speed up their PC, they are told to get rid of the System32 folder.
Another reason is that, many users fall for the 'delete System32' prank played by online pranksters. These are people who have nothing better to do in life, and seem to gain pleasure from the misery and misfortune of others.
You can find them on online chat forums and boardrooms, shooting random and completely worthless advice at lay users. Some even go to the extent of creating extravagant infographics telling you how Microsoft is this Big Bad Wolf trying to trick Little Red Riding Hood (Windows users) by imposing the 'harmful' System32 folder on them.
There is even a hoax going around the Internet that System32 is actually a virus. While it is true that viruses do get attached to the files within the System32 folder, that in no way implies that the directory itself is dangerous, nor that deleting it will solve the problem.
Many users get scared when their antivirus scan displays a list with several files having path names leading to the System32 folder. Please note however, that removing this folder won't solve the problem, but will instead create more. Instead of taking any manual action (deletion), use a good antivirus to clean up your PC, including the System32 folder.
What Happens if You Delete System32 Files?
In a single word, disaster! It would be like cutting out a big chunk from a person's brain and then asking him to add 2 + 2. Pardon me for the grisly example, but if you think about it, minus the gore, you will see the relevance.
A person needs his entire brain to function (and to do math!). Similarly, Windows needs all its system files to run effectively on your system. Deleting the System32 folder will result in a major portion of the system software being lost. This will cause your entire OS to malfunction, and even breakdown completely!
Why NOT to Delete it
If a complete collapse of your OS isn't reason enough for you to never delete the System32 folder, the following is a list of 6 major reasons to help convince you all the more.
1) It Won't Speed Up Your PC: Contrary to what you have watched or read on the Internet, deleting the System32 folder from your PC will not speed it up, but will rather bring it to a complete standstill!
2) It's Not a Virus: Some scammers out there claim that System32 is a deadly virus, and try to fool you into downloading their antivirus software to get rid of it. There is actually no such virus, and the System32 folder poses absolutely no threat to your PC. So don't waste your time and your hard-earned money on such bogus antivirus software.
3) It Will Kill Your OS: Deleting the System32 folder will literally kill your Windows Operating System. So never even attempt to do that.
4) It Will Result in Loss of Data: Upon deletion of this directory, your OS will stop functioning. You will be left with no other choice but to re-install it. However, all your unsaved data, especially that on the hard disk partition in which the OS was installed, along with your personal settings, will be lost.
5) Applications and Software Programs Will Stop Working: Almost all the software and applications that you install on your PC rely on the System32 folder and the files within it. So obviously, with its deletion, these programs are more than likely to stop functioning entirely.
6) Because You are Smarter Than That: The fact that you are here reading this post indicates that you don't blindly follow advice, but instead research about it thoroughly first, and only then reach a decision. That makes you smarter than Mr. Average Joe, and indeed than the scammers out there.
So now you know why deleting System32 files would be a huge blunder. Always remember, faceless advice over the Internet should always be taken with a pinch of salt. Scammers will always try to fool you, but you must stay one step ahead of them. So be smart and make sure that you are well-informed before making any decision.