When did Windows start accepting forward slash as a path separator?
adalke at mindspring.com
Fri Sep 26 04:03:10 CEST 2003
> When did Windows start accepting the forward slash as a path separator
DOS 2. When directories were introduced. Many of the functions
were based on unix, down to a NUL terminated filename and the
But DOS 1 was modelled on CP/M which used "/" as a command
line option flag. You couldn't use a "/" in the DOS shell because
it would be interpreted as the flag. You could change the flag using
a DOS command, eg, to use "-" instead, but that was disabled in
the 3.x days; for good reason.
Hence, the low-level DOS commands (since 2.0) would take
both / and \ as separators, but some codes did their own
filename munging and would not.
> At one time, it was accepted as a truism that Windows (like MS-DOS)
> was different from Unix because Windows used the backslash as the path
> separator character, whereas Unix used the forward slash.
It was? My copy of Norton's Guide to the IBM PC makes
the explicit statement that directories were directly influenced by
unix. I actually regard this as a point of similarity. The character
used is a minor issue.
There are, of course, many ways in which they are different. Like
drive names, which comes from CP/M, and the filesystem layout
itself (FAT vs. inodes). And DOS had much better IDEs, like
Turbo Pascal. ;)
> I hypothesize that originally Windows accepted only the backslash, and
> then at some time it changed to accept the forward slash as well.
> Does anyone know when that change occurred? Was it with the
> introduction of support for long filenames in NT and Win95?
The original Windows was a shell on top of DOS. Programs
under Windows could use the DOS layer directly, which took
both separators. Even in Wn95 I could exit to DOS, meaning
I could quite out of Win95 to the shell prompt then do 'win'
to start it up again.
dalke at dalkescientific.com
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