Super User is a question and answer site for computer enthusiasts and power users. Join them; it only takes a minute:

Sign up
Here's how it works:
  1. Anybody can ask a question
  2. Anybody can answer
  3. The best answers are voted up and rise to the top

What are the system files that can be found on any recent Windows operating system (perhaps since Windows 2000), without any changes? E.g. the same file size and the same binary content?

share|improve this question
Why do you need the information? – Ganesh R. Sep 25 '09 at 19:49
I'd like to use the files that guaranteed to exist on any modern Windows machine as strong encryption keys – DvD Sep 25 '09 at 20:08
I think there are better methods. How would having the same files help you create a good encryption? Instead if you want to use binary CRC etc for encryption, use the binary signature of your own dll. That way you will be able to detect tampering. Else go with the std encryption methods available on the net. Do a google. – Ganesh R. Sep 25 '09 at 20:13
Indeed, I'm going to use VERY standard methods. They assume either creating the password that you have to type or the key file that you have to carry around. Now I'd like to use some standard file that I don't have to move between the machines because it exists on any of them. – DvD Sep 25 '09 at 20:25

I think none. Cause Windows is evolving, new underlying technology, new runtime framework etc. So even if for backwards compatibility reasons, microsoft does keep the legacy methods exposed in a dll, they will add new methods, use newer compiler etc. So I think the answer is no.

If you can elaborate on the need for such details, we may be able to suggest some alternatives.

share|improve this answer

Microsoft tries to assure everyone (and especially their big customers) your old programs still run, that means backwards compatibility and the debt that comes with that. Reading Raymond Chen's blog you'll find many of these small little backwards compatibility "features" (about 577 posts according to Google). Big chance, these files are not changed because external programs depend on it in a static way, and windows either uses a wrapper to add functionality, or uses a whole different set of dll's.

Funny example is the xerox folder.

share|improve this answer

Any of the .exe and .dll files will be different due to different compile times and version number. System files such as C:\boot.ini will have version specific information.

So I would vote for: none

share|improve this answer
boot.ini doesn't even exist on halfway recent Windows versions anymore. – Joey Sep 25 '09 at 23:24

You must log in to answer this question.