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What is a directory and a file and what is the difference between them?

Experience Level: Junior
Tags: File System



A directory is like a box that can contain other boxes (subdirectories).

  • There can be directory in a directory that is in a directory.
  • A directory that is stored in a directory is sometimes referred to as a subdirectory.
  • There can be zero or more directories (subdirectories) in a directory.
  • Except subdirectories a directory can contain zero or more files as well.
  • Directories can be created, renamed, deleted.


A file is a document that contains data.

  • The files can be stored in folders.
  • One file can be stored in one folder only.
  • Files can be created, renamed, deleted. Their content can be modified.
  • The full file name consists of the file name and file extension, these two pards are delimited by . (dot) character. The file extension usually identifies the type of the file. You can however rename the file name and the file extension to anything you want.
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