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Definition: root directory

The starting point in a hierarchical file system. In modern operating systems, access to the root directory (root folder) requires administrator privileges (see root level). Gaining access to a file in the hierarchy requires identifying all the directories/folders in the path from the root directory/folder to that file. In DOS and Windows, the command line symbol for the root directory is a backslash (\). In Unix/Linux, it is a slash (/). See path, tree, hierarchical file system and file system.