Alan Freedman -- The Computer Language Company - Computer Desktop Encyclopedia
Computer Desktop Encyclopedia
Longest-Running Tech Reference on the Planet

A CDE Definition

You'll love The Computer Desktop Encyclopedia (CDE) for Tech Term of the Day (TTOD)



See backslash.


The symbol (\) used as a separator between folder and file names in DOS and Windows. For example, the path to the Windows version of this encyclopedia is c:\"program files"\CDEweb\CDEweb.exe, which points to the CDEweb.exe file in the CDEweb folder within the Program Files folder on the C: drive.

An Unfortunate, Confusing Symbol
While the backslash (\) is used in Windows addresses, the forward slash (/) is used in Internet addresses, which are Unix based. In addition, the backslash key is in a non-standard keyboard location.

Windows followed DOS, which was modeled after CP/M, and CP/M used the forward slash for command line parameters without regard to Unix path compatibility (Unix was big iron at the time, and CP/M was for personal computers). Thus we are stuck with two different symbols to separate file and folder names.

Double Backslashes (\\)
Two backslashes are used as a prefix to a server name (hostname). For example, \\a5\c\expenses is the path to the EXPENSES folder on the C: drive on server A5. See UNC, \\, path and forward slash.

 Platform     Path to Ovens Folder

 Windows:     \products\kitchen\ovens

 Mac OS X:    /products/kitchen/ovens

              Path to Ovens Page


Three Symbols Separate Names
The Unix-based Mac uses the forward slash, while Windows uses the backslash. Starting with Windows Vista, the Explorer path uses right arrows; however, backslashes must still be used at the command line (see cmd abc's).

Personal Use Only

Before/After Your Search Term
.zip file 
= sign 
== signs\\
@ sign_
@Home Network|

Terms By Topic
Click any of the following categories for a list of fundamental terms.
Computer Words You Gotta KnowSystem design
Job categoriesUnix/Linux
Interesting stuffPersonal computers
InternetIndustrial Automation/Process Control
Communications & networkingAssociations/Standards organizations
HistoryDesktop publishing
ProgrammingHealthcare IT
System design