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Important This document may not represent best practices for current development, links to downloads and other resources may no longer be valid. Current recommended version can be found here.

Configuration Files 

Configuration files are XML files that can be changed as needed. Developers can use configuration files to change settings without recompiling applications. Administrators can use configuration files to set policies that affect how applications run on their computers.


Managed code can use the classes in the System.Configuration namespace to read settings from the configuration files, but not to write settings to those files.

This section describes the syntax of configuration files and provides information about the three types of configuration files: machine, application, and security.

In This Section

Configuration File Format

Briefly describes the format of configuration files.

Machine Configuration Files

Describes the contents of machine configuration files.

Application Configuration Files

Describes the different types of application configuration files.

Security Configuration Files

Provides the location of the security configuration files.

Related Sections

Configuration File Schema

Provides the schema for configuration files.

ASP.NET Settings Schema

Describes each of the configuration sections within the <system.web> section of Web.config files in detail and shows the full syntax that each supports.

.NET Framework Configuration Tool (Mscorcfg.msc)

Describes how to use the configuration tool to configure applications and computers.

Code Access Security Policy Tool (Caspol.exe)

Describes how to examine and modify machine, user, and enterprise-level code access security policies.


Provides an overview of assemblies.

Remote Objects

Discusses remoting with .NET applications.

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