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In computing, a directory or folder is a particular area of the file system used for organizing files. The name "folder" is used on some operating systems, such as Mac OS and, increasingly, Microsoft Windows.

In graphical user interface (GUI) environments, folders are often depicted with icons which resemble physical file folders such as those of a file cabinet.

If you imagine the computer's file system as a file cabinet, high-level directories may be represented by the drawers, and low-level directories or "sub-directories" may be represented as file folders within the drawers. Operating systems like Microsoft Windows, DOS, and Unix support practically limitless levels of sub-directories (or folders within folders.)

The word directory is used in computing with a different sense: a central repository of information related to management of a computer or a network of computers. This includes data on users, applications, hosts, network devices, security credentials and more. The directory, as opposed to a database, is heavily optimized for reading, with the assumption that data updates are very rare compared to data reads.

Currently (2003) the prominent directory technology is LDAP, which is descended from the X.500 standard. Microsoft's implementation of LDAP is Active Directory.

The Distributed Management Task Force (DMTF) is creating standards related to the information stored in such directories, and the protocols and APIs used to access it. The main product of these efforts is a common information model[?] (CIM[?]) for management.

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