Is It Safe to Delete System32/MUI Files?
By Darla Ferrara
, last updated March 13, 2012
A Windows operating system contains thousands of files, but not all are critical. Even so, it is not a smart idea to delete files randomly without knowing the role each plays in the operation of your computer. Many files on your computer do not serve a vital purpose, and deleting them is not a problem. The key is to understand the nature of a MUI file and the consequence of removing it.
System 32 Folder
The system32 folder is a key component of the Windows operating platform. This is where Windows stores some of the core files. Sub folders within system32 contain configuration information and registry entries for your computer. The location should serve as a signal to you. The files contained in this folder may be critical. When you see a file in this location, you should assume Windows might need it to work properly. There are a few exceptions to this rule, however. One such exception may be the MUI files.
Multilingual User Interface
Multilingual user interface files, or MUI, provide data the computer needs to support a language. This is true regardless of what language you run on your system. The MUI files sit in sub folders that identify the language they support. For example, system32en-US contains files that support United States English while it-IT has data for Italian. These files install on your computer as part of the Windows Language Pack. The language setup on Windows allows you to use more than one language on the computer. The MUI files are part of that process.
The language folders do more than just determine what language you type. Some programs may rely on certain MUI files as part of the loading process. Deleting the MUI files may have consequences that you do not initially see. Removing the files may not be a problem on Windows, but might cause an error in a mail or word processing program. There is no viable reason to delete these files. They are a legitimate part of the operating system.
Windows does provide a way to uninstall the languages associated with the MUI files if necessary. You can access the process through the Control Panel. Click on the Windows logo at the bottom of the desktop and select "Control Panel." Once the panel opens, look for "Clock, Language, and Region." Click on "Change Display Language" and run the uninstall language program from there. This way, you remove the language first, then you can delete the file if necessary. You still will not know if the deletion affects third-party applications, however. If you have a problem, you can go on the Windows website to download and reinstall the language pack.