Folder (computing)

Folder . Folders are useful for organizing information. For example, you can create a folder that contains all the files related to a specific topic.


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  • 1 Explanation
  • 2 Name of folders and files
  • 3 Files and folders are organized by subject or hierarchy
  • 4 Source


To facilitate the consultation of books and documents in a library, they are organized on shelves or filing cabinets according to a certain criterion, such as by subject, content or author’s name.

The same cannot be done on the computer disk , because it cannot have drawers as such, but the operating system can simulate its function through a file called a folder, folder or directory, which acts as a container to store files or other folders. Folders are useful for organizing information. For example, you can create a folder that contains all the files related to a specific topic.

Each folder is actually on the disk an index or reference table in which the names and locations of the files it contains are recorded, in addition to control information.

In the operating system the letters A and B are used to identify the drives for handling floppy disks (something like two smaller desks), and the letters from C to Z for hard drives, CD compact discs or magnetic tape drives.

Folders and files name

Just as people have a first and last name to distinguish them, similarly we must put a name or identification code to each file or folder (directory or subdirectory) that we record on the disk.

In the DOS operating system, the name can be up to 8 characters and an optional extension of 1 to 3 characters. The name and the extension are separated by a period: Various, letter.doc, clients.dbf, drawing2.pcx. Folder (directory) names usually do not have an extension, but can be named.

The file name extension is like a surname that helps identify the file type. Thus, DOC means that the file is a document, DBF indicates that it is a database, TXT is added to a text file name, EXE refers to an executable file (which contains instructions for the system).

On Linux , Windows (starting with version 95), and other recent operating systems , files or file folders can have names of up to 255 characters, such as “Classic Folk Songs”, “Correspondence Received in 2004”, “SYSTEM ACCOUNTING “, etc. In this case the name extension is automatically set by the application program that generated the file and is hidden from the user; It is required to know what application it was created with.

Files and folders are organized by topic or hierarchy

Some folders may in turn contain other folders called subfolders or subdirectories, because they depend on another one of higher hierarchy. Compared to a tree, the main directory is equivalent to the trunk, and the folders with its files are the branches and its leaves. The main directory is called the root directory.

Folder hierarchy

The root directory and subdirectories (folders and subfolders) are basically tables that the operating system uses as an index to store basic information about each file on the disk. The only thing different is its characteristics:

  • The root directory has a fixed size and is written to a certain area on the disk.
  • The subdirectory, on the other hand, is an addition to the root directory, it is not fixed in size and can be written to anywhere in the data area of ​​the disk, just like any other file.
  • The only limitation on the size of a subdirectory is the available disk space.

The disk initially has only the root directory, which is generated at the time of formatting. This is equivalent to having a table without drawers, on which you can place what you need regularly, such as a notepad with important notes for office staff, a phone, pencil holder, calculator, clock, or calendar . Similarly, the root directory of the disk is used to store the essential files, such as the Windows registry (system.1st, user.dat), the DOS command interpreter (, and, if the operating system it is outdated, autoexec.bat and config.sys files.


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