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
and forward slash
Platform Path to Ovens Folder
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