about_Path_Syntax

TOPIC
	about_Path_Syntax

SHORT DESCRIPTION
	Describes the full and relative path name formats in Windows PowerShell.
 

LONG DESCRIPTION
	All items in a data store accessible through a Windows PowerShell provider 
	can be uniquely identified by their path names. A path name is a 
	combination of the item name, the container and subcontainers in which 
	the item is located, and the Windows PowerShell drive through which the 
	containers are accessed.


	In Windows PowerShell, path names are divided into one of two types: fully 
	qualified and relative. A fully qualified path name consists of all 
	elements that make up a path. The following syntax shows the elements in 
	a fully qualified path name:


		[<provider>::]<drive>:[\<container>[\<subcontainer>...]]\<item>


	The <provider> placeholder refers to the Windows PowerShell provider 
	through which you access the data store. For example, the FileSystem
	provider allows you to access the files and directories on your computer.
	This element of the syntax is optional and is never needed because the 
	drive names are unique across all providers.


	The <drive> placeholder refers to the Windows PowerShell drive that is 
	supported by a particular Windows PowerShell provider. In the case of the
	FileSystem provider, the Windows PowerShell drives map to the Windows 
	drives that are configured on your system. For example, if your system 
	includes an A: drive and a C: drive, the FileSystem provider creates the
	same drives in Windows PowerShell.


	After you have specified the drive, you must specify any containers and 
	subcontainers that contain the item. The containers must be specified 
	in the hierarchical order in which they exist in the data store. In 
	other words, you must start with the parent container, then the child 
	container in that parent container, and so on. In addition, each 
	container must be preceded by a backslash. (Note that Windows PowerShell
	allows you to use forward slashes for compatibility with other 
	powershells.)


	After the container and subcontainers have been specified, you must 
	provide the item name, preceded by a backslash. For example, the fully 
	qualified path name for the Shell.dll file in the C:\Windows\System32 
	directory is as follows:


		C:\Windows\System32\Shell.dll


	In this case, the drive through which the containers are accessed is 
	the C: drive, the top-level container is Windows, the subcontainer is
	System32 (located within the Windows container), and the item is Shell.dll.


	In some situations, you do not need to specify a fully qualified path 
	name and can instead use a relative path name. A relative path name is 
	based on the current working location. Windows PowerShell allows you to 
	identify an item based on its location relative to the current working
	location. You can specify relative path names by using special characters.
	The following table describes each of these characters and provides 
	examples of relative path names and fully qualified path names. The 
	examples in the table are based on the current working directory being 
	set to C:\Windows.


	Symbol Description				Relative path	Fully qualified path
	------ -------------------------- ---------------- --------------------
	.	Current working location   .\System		 c:\Windows\System
	..	 Parent of current working  ..\Program Files c:\Program Files
		 location
	\	Drive root of current	\Program Files   c:\Program Files
		 working location
	[none] No special characters	System		 c:\Windows\System


	When using a path name in a command, you enter that name in the same 
	way whether you use a fully qualified path name or a relative one. For 
	example, suppose that your current working directory is C:\Windows. The 
	following Get-ChildItem command retrieves all items in the C:\Techdocs 
	directory:


		Get-ChildItem \techdocs


	The backslash indicates that the drive root of the current working 
	location should be used. Because the working directory is C:\Windows, 
	the drive root is the C: drive. Because the techdocs directory is located 
	off the root, you need to specify only the backslash.


	You can achieve the same results by using the following command:


		Get-ChildItem c:\techdocs


	Regardless of whether you use a fully qualified path name or a relative 
	path name, a path name is important not only because it locates an item 
	but also because it uniquely identifies the item even if that item 
	shares the same name as another item in a different container. 


	For instance, suppose that you have two files that are each named 
	Results.txt. The first file is in a directory named C:\Techdocs\Jan, 
	and the second file is in a directory named C:\Techdocs\Feb. The path 
	name for the first file (C:\Techdocs\Jan\Results.txt) and the path name 
	for the second file (C:\Techdocs\Feb\Results.txt) allow you to clearly 
	distinguish between the two files.


SEE ALSO
	about_Locations