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Comparison of file system directory structures

Comparison of file system directory structures
Author: Stefán Örvar Sigmundsson
Initial publication:
Last updated:
Written in: English (United Kingdom)

The following is a comparison of the Filesystem Hierarchy Standard (FHS) maintained by the Linux Foundation and the directory structure of Microsoft Windows.


It is nearly impossible to find a one-to-one match in the directory structure of the FHS and Microsoft Windows. Not all optional directories of the FHS are included in the table:

Filesystem Hierarchy Standard 3.0 Microsoft Windows 10
/ C:\ (primary partition)
/bin/ C:\Program Files
/boot/ C:\Windows
system reserved partition[1]
/dev/ [2]
/etc/ C:\Windows
Windows Registry
/home/ C:\Users
/lib/ C:\Program Files
/media/ [3]
/mnt/ [3]
/proc/ [2]
/root/ C:\Users\Administrator
/sbin/ C:\Windows
/sys/ [2]
/usr/bin/ C:\Program Files
/usr/lib/ C:\Program Files
/usr/sbin/ C:\Windows
/var/cache/ C:\Users\[user]\AppData[4]
/var/crash/ C:\Windows
/var/lib/ C:\ProgramData
/var/log/ C:\Windows\System32\winevt\Logs
/var/spool/ C:\Windows\System32\spool
/var/tmp/ C:\Windows\Temp
  1. ^ Necessary for BitLocker and Windows Recovery Environment.
  2. a b c Devices, drivers and processes are not treated like files.
  3. a b Removable media get their own drive letter and hierarchy.
  4. ^ Centralised cache is largely user-specific on Microsoft Windows.

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