Delete System 32 refers to a widespread trolling scheme, aimed toward convincing inept PC users to delete a necessary directory from Microsoft Windows operating systems.
Many have been tricked by the ploy, rendering their computers useless, as an operating system cannot function properly – if at all – without the System32 directory.
The first Micorosoft operating system to include System32 was Windows 2000.
The “delete System 32” prank started spreading online in the early 2000’s, however it didn’t gain larger traction until late 2006, when it would emerge on multiple 4chan boards like /b/.
Comments and threads would appear on numerous websites and forums around that time, giving seemingly friendly advice to inexperienced users, convincing them to “delete System 32”.
By Spring, 2007, the online prank would become truly viral, with posts and comments appearing on 4chan, IT forums, as well as social media sites.
Small, text-based tutorials would also be spread through images, incentivizing users to use the @echo off command to “delete System 32” with no warning.
Today, most users have learned not to meddle with System32, although the pranks are still surfacing sometimes, disguised as good advice.
- Howtogeek.com – What is the System32 Directory? (and Why You Shouldn’t Delete It)
- Reddit – r/NoStupidQuestions
- Techdator.net – How to Delete System32 Windows (C:) Drive Files?