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What is an absolute path, a relative path and what is the difference between them?

Experience Level: Junior
Tags: File System

Answer

Absolute path

The absolute path is the full path that starts with drive (c:, d: or other letter:)

Example: c:\users\john.doe\Download\my-file.txt

Relative path

The relative is a partial path that is relative to some other directory.

  • The relative path starts with the \ (backslash) character, with the directory or with the file name.
  • The relative path can contain multiple directories with file name, file name only, or one or more directories or one or more directories with file name

Examples:

  • \users - this is the relative path to the directory users that will be searched for in the root directory
  • john.doe\Download - this is the relative path to the directory Download that is stored in the directory john.doe that will be searched for in the current directory 
  • Download - this is the relative path to the directory Download that will be searched for in the current directory
  • Download\my-file.txt - this is the relative path to the file my-file.txt that is stored in the directory Download that will be searched for in the current directory
  • my-file.txt - this is the relative path to the file my-file.txt that will be searched for in the current directory

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