What's the Scoop on \\ for Paths? (Win)

W. eWatson wolftracks at invalid.com
Sun Jan 31 19:42:25 CET 2010

Alf P. Steinbach wrote:
> * W. eWatson:
>> I'm sure that \\ is used in some way for paths in Win Python, but I 
>> have not found anything after quite a search. I even have a six page 
>> pdf on a file tutorial. Nothing. Two books. Nothing. When I try to 
>> open a file along do I need, for example, 
>> "Events\\record\\year\\today"? Are paths like, ".\\Events" allowed, or 
>> am I mixing up my Linux memory on this?
> The Python issue with \\ is that in a literal string \\ denotes a single 
> \ character, like
>   >>> print( "back\\slash" )
>   back\slash
>   >>> _
> This is just like in other languages with syntax inherited from C. Look 
> up "escape sequences". It has nothing to do with files and paths per se, 
> but means that you cannot write e.g. "c:\windows\system32", but must 
> write something like "c:\\windows\\system32" (try to print that string), 
> or, since Windows handles forward slashes as well, you can write 
> "c:/windows/system32" :-).
> The Window issue with \\ is that \\ as a path prefix denotes an UNC 
> (Universal Naming Convention) path. Usually that would be a LAN or WAN 
> network path, but it can also denote a printer or a pipe or a mailslot 
> or just about anything. Using UNC paths opens the door to creating files 
> and directories that other programs won't be able to handle, so Just Say 
> No(TM), if you can.
> Cheers & hth.,
> - Alf
Ah, yes. Thanks for the memory jog.

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