Difference between Folder and Directory

Malik Marghoob Khan

Difference between Folder and Directory

What is Folder? & What is Directory?

Folder
In literature or common conversation we usually think of “Folder” as:

It is a file with hard or soft cover that is used to hold letters, applications, forms, certificates etc. A covering that is folded over to protect the content inside it.

Folder
Technical Meanings

Folder
Folders can be defined in number of ways:

In Windows and Macintosh Environment folder is an object to multiple documents. It is a subdivision of hard drive to organize the data in a more efficient manner. It holds data, applications and other folders, called subfolders. It is a collection of files which we can change, retrieve, move and even delete.

Directory
In literature or every day non-technical communication from “Directory” we mean:

It is an ordered listing of people in alphabetical order, seniority, or location in an organization, district, province or even within a country, for example a telephone directory. Notice board displaying the rooms, locations and their occupants. Revolutionary government of France from (1775-1799) consisting of five directors. Book of conduct for Christian worship in Roman Catholic church.

Directory
Technical Meanings

Directory

It is a file system that is used to organize, store and locate the files in computer. It is a group of files that are related or interlinked and are separated usually on the basis of naming convention from other groups in the computer. In computer networks it is refereed to as the collection of users, user password, and the information about the what network resources they can access.

Directory

It is a database of users, applications and hardware devices in a network. It refers to drop down tree of folders within folders making up the computer system.

Metaphor
Technically there is a difference between the two terms “Folder” and “Directory” but they are often used interchangeably.

The difference becomes more confusing when we use the terms for different operating systems. In other words their use is OS dependent. For Windows users there is no difference between the two and are used in the same meanings. Users of Linux prefer to use directory instead of folder. Folders are created by the users to manage the files.

Metaphor
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Directory are used by compute to manage the files Directory is a subset of folder. Directories help the computer to manage and locate the files used by folder whenever needed. Both require space on your hard drive. All directories are folders but the vice versa is not correct. Folder metaphor was coined by Xerox Star in 1981, and was later followed by Microsoft and Mac.

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