Current directory

Updated: 04/26/2017 by Computer Hope

Alternatively referred to as the working directory or current working directory (CWD), the current directory is the directory or folder in which you are currently working. The following sections contain some common use examples involving the current working directory.


While in Windows Explorer, the current working directory is shown at the top of the active window in what appears to look like an address bar. For example, if you were in the System32 folder you would see "C:\Windows\System32" or "Computer > C:>Windows\System32" depending on your version of Windows. In this example, System32 is the current directory.

MS-DOS and Windows command line

Windows command line path

In the MS-DOS or Windows command line, the current working directory is displayed as the prompt. For example, if the prompt was "C:\Windows\System32>" the "System32" directory is the current directory, "Windows" is the parent directory, and "C:\" is the drive or root directory. To list the files in the current directory use the dir command, and if you want to change the current directory, use the cd command.

Show current directory in Linux and Unix

Depending on your variant of Linux or Unix the Current directory will be shown as the prompt, or can be seen by using the pwd command.

Linux, Operating system terms, Parent directory, Root directory, Unix