path

Definition of path in The Network Encyclopedia.

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What is Path (in computer networking)?

The route that a user or application follows to locate a file in a file system, an object in a directory, a server on a network, or some other kind of resource in a hierarchical system. A path to an object can be one of the following:

  • An absolute path, which starts from the root of the file system or directory
  • A relative path, which starts from the user’s current directory or location

Path example

On a system running Microsoft Windows, the absolute path to a file is expressed using backslashes, as follows:

C:\Windows\Profiles\Administrator\User.dat

If the current directory is C:\Windows\Profiles, the relative path to the same file is as follows:

\Administrator\User.dat

To access files in shared folders on a Windows network, you can use the Universal Naming Convention (UNC) path:

\\server16\pub\readme.txt

On UNIX platforms, forward slashes are used instead of backslashes, as in this example:

/user/bin/blah.gz

To request a Web page on the Internet, you specify the page’s Uniform Resource Locator (URL), which is essentially the path to the page in the hierarchical Domain Name System (DNS):

http://www.microsoft.com/support/FAQ.htm