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Windows: Path with spaces

📅 2009-Dec-28 ⬩ ✍️ Ashwin Nanjappa ⬩ 🏷️ windows ⬩ 📚 Archive


Windows Vista fixed one colossal mistake Microsoft had made with directory names. The obnoxiously named C:\Documents and Settings was changed to the short and sweet C:\Users. It was short, meaningful and most importantly it did not have spaces in the path! The My (and the following space) was removed from directories like My Documents and they were shortened to Documents, Pictures and Videos.

I know it is 2009 and I should expect most real-world applications to deal with paths that have spaces. (Sadly, a lot of open-source applications ported over from Linux to Windows fail on this.) However, I believe that it is of paramount importance that the default Windows directory names themselves should be as short as possible and have no spaces.

There is one elephant that remains, even in Windows 7: C:\Program Files

Strangely, there are some applications and libraries that (can deal with paths with spaces, but) require their installation path to have no spaces! Since they cannot work from C:\Program Files they try to install themselves onto C:\ itself. This irritates me a lot, since it clutters up that root directory! So, I resort to having another C:\Programs\ folder around for these applications to install into. The famous culprits that do this are cygwin, CGAL and Qt.

What I would like to learn from the likes of Raymond Chen is why Windows 7 still uses C:\Program Files instead of using something shorter like C:\Programs?! If they could go through the pains of renaming Documents and Settings and its bastard children, surely they could have done the same with Program Files!!!

© 2022 Ashwin Nanjappa • All writing under CC BY-SA license • 🐘📧