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shan shan - 8 months ago 30
C# Question

What is the difference between an absolute and a relative path?

I am asking because I am working on a project for school. Yes this is homework. But, I'm trying to understand a little bit more, though.

This is one example of what is being asked.

• When the user clicks the “Save” button, write the selected record to the file specified in txtFilePath (absolute path not relative) without truncating the values currently inside.

This is what I have,

private void button2_Click(object sender, EventArgs e)
if (saveFileDialog1.ShowDialog() == DialogResult.OK)
StreamWriter myWriter = new StreamWriter(saveFileDialog1.FileName);

Now, I don't understand if I am doing this right. I know when I save it to my desktop and I delete it from my listbox and when I try to reload it again nothing shows up. This is what I have on my form,

private void button1_Click(object sender, EventArgs e)
if (openFileDialog1.ShowDialog() == DialogResult.OK)
StreamReader myReader = new StreamReader(openFileDialog1.FileName);
txtFilePath.Text = openFileDialog1.FileName;
txtFilePath.Text = myReader.ReadToEnd();

And this is the load,

private void Form1_Load(object sender, EventArgs e)
string[] myFiles = Directory.GetFiles("C:\\");
foreach (string filename in myFiles)
FileInfo file = new FileInfo(filename);


Can someone please help me make sense of this?


Say you were giving directions to a spot. You have two methods you can describe getting to the location:

  • Relative to where you stand,
  • Relative to a landmark.

Both get you to the same location, but the former doesn't always work ("take a left, then a right, go through two lights then take another right" wouldn't necessarily work from the next town over, but works from where you stand). That's essentially the difference.

If you have C:\Windows\System32, that's an absolute path. If you have Windows\System32, it will only work so long as you're starting from C:\. If you start in C:\Program Files you would need a ..\ to get there correctly.

However, no matter where you are on the hard drive, C:\Windows\System32\ is a definitive way to get to that folder.