backslash

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backslash

(character)
"\" ASCII code 92. Common names: escape (from C/Unix); reverse slash; slosh; backslant; backwhack. Rare: bash; ITU-T: reverse slant; reversed virgule; INTERCAL: backslat.

Backslash is used to separate components in MS-DOS pathnames, and to introduce special character sequence in C and Unix strings, e.g. "\n" for newline.

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

 Unix/Linux,
 Mac OS X:    /products/kitchen/ovens


              Path to Ovens Page

 Internet:    greatproducts.com/kitchen/ovens



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).