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Linux and Windows Xp File System Structure Comparison

Linux and Windows XP File System Structure Comparison Linux and Windows XP are two very different operating systems, both in concept and structure. Linux is an open source operating system while Windows XP is closed source. Linux and Windows XP both employ a standard file system structure, and while there are some similarities, there are many more differences. Linux has a more simple structure when compared to Windows XP. Linux File System Structure Linux has a simplified file system structure. The file system structure has a tree-like structure (Advanced Horizons, Inc. , 2005). Please reference the diagram (Advanced Horizons, Inc. 2005) below. All files are organized into the 11 main directories.

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Some main directory names are used again as subdirectories, such as /bin. The /bin directory contains all binary executable files. This is the case whether the files are in the main /bin directory allowing all users to execute, or within the /usr directory intended for select audiences. Also of note, all users have home directory within /home. If a users logon ID is jdoe, then that users home directory will be /home/jdoe. Each user is given a home directory where they can store any files they like under any file directory system that they wish.

System files are stored within /proc. All versions of Unix and Linux follow the same file system structure. This standard makes it easier for users and administrators to navigate through the different versions of the operating system with ease. Ease of navigation is also important due to the open source nature of the operating system. Users needed to be able to find files easily so that changes and modifications could be made to the system to personalize it for each user. If an issue with the system was found, it was also important to be able to find the affected files so that repairs could be made to the system.

In short the open nature of the system necessitated its simplicity. Windows XP File System Structure Windows XP is a closed source operating system. As such there are many hidden files and folders along with a complex file system structure. This is to help keep users from making specialized changes to the system and also to keep them out of trouble. Please reference the diagram (Sjouwerman, 2008) below. The Windows XP file system structure also branches out in a tree-like structure, but as you can see it is heavily weighted within the Windows directory.

User specific files and settings are contained within the Documents and Settings directory, organized by user name. There is also a folder that contains files and settings that apply to all users. The Program Files directory is the default location for application files. The bulk of the operating system files are located within the WindowsSystem32 directory (Sjouwerman, 2008). Windows XP has only five main directories. All files are organized into these directories in some fashion. This is another reason why there is such a complex directory structure within the Windows directory.

There are many files and application that are contained within that single directory. Also to note is that the file system structure has changed from earlier versions of Windows. Compare and Contrast There are some similarities between Linux and Windows XP. Most noticeable is that each system has a main directory that houses all user files. Each system also has a directory where program files are stored. However, that is where the similarities end. The main difference between the two file structures is how the system files are stored. Linux has more of a flat structure when it comes to the main directories.

Instead of containing all files within a single directory, they are split amongst several different directories by function. Directory naming conventions are also the same between older versions of Linux and Unix and never versions. Windows XP stores all system related files within a single main directory. There are many subdirectories which can make it difficult to locate specific files. File system structure also varies between different versions of Windows. This can make it difficult for users to navigate an operating system that is different than one they may have been previously using.

And not to be overlooked is the philosophical difference between the two systems. Linux is an open source system and the source code for the system is published on the Internet for anyone to view. Windows XP is a closed source operating system. Its source code is not available for public viewing or suggestions. Linux is free and open to everyone and Windows XP comes with a price tag. Conclusion While there are some similarities between the Linux file system structure and that of Windows XP, there are many more differences between the two.

Linux has a flatter and simpler file system structure while Windows XP has a more complex one. Linux was designed with an open structure while Windows XP’s structure is closed. And, of course, while the source code for Linux is free and open to the public, Windows XP’s source code is not.

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