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I know how a *nix directory structure is set up and how directories are pretty much just lists of files. I can open them with a text editor and read them, they are an actual "file". I am a little confused on what a Windows folder actually is. I am pretty sure it is not a "file" as we would normally think about it. I couldn't find any explanation online about the architecture behind the Window's "folder".

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Windows directories are essentially the same as linux directories. Folders are different. Directories are folders, but some folders are not directories. Folders can virtual containers, that contain other objects, usually more files and folders. But yes, this is off-topic here. Perhaps you are looking for superuser. –  David Heffernan Mar 15 '13 at 21:47
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en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Shell_folders - folders may have nothing to do with directories (or even disks) on Windows, as David said. Printers and Devices, for instance, is a folder on Windows that has nothing to do with disk content, and on Win7 several directories can be in a single folder (see Libraries, for instance, which is not a directory but contains several of them). Wikipedia also has pages on NTFS, FAT32, and FAT16, which describe the actual structure of the file allocation tables on various Windows versions (no room for links in comment). –  Ken White Mar 15 '13 at 22:19
    
Directories are not an actual "file" even if your text editor presents them as such. –  Ярослав Рахматуллин Mar 16 '13 at 5:32

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