use of the function " system(" ") "

Posted on 2004-03-30
Last Modified: 2010-04-15
The first part of a C-program consists of copying the file "code.exe" to the existing folder "File menu".
I have tried :

system("XCOPY C:\code.exe C:\Fileme~1");

This does not work.Can anyone help me?
Question by:Naderassen
LVL 12

Assisted Solution

stefan73 earned 20 total points
ID: 10721669
Hi Naderassen,
You should escape backslashes:

system("XCOPY C:\\code.exe C:\\Fileme~1");

LVL 10

Accepted Solution

Sys_Prog earned 30 total points
ID: 10721865
Just to add to what Stefan said

A backslash character i.e. '\' is treated as an escape character in C/ C++
An escape character turns off the normal meaning of the immediately following character.

Thus, \n is treated/interpreted as a newline by C/C++ compilers

When u use
system("XCOPY C:\code.exe C:\Fileme~1");

the compiler assumes \c and \F to be an escape sequence AND not as a directory separator

Thus, as Stefann suggested, u would have to use a double '\' to turn off the normal meaning of '\' i.e. act as an escape character


LVL 12

Expert Comment

ID: 10721968
Most more modern windows system calls nowadays also support slashes instead of backslashes in file names. Sensible thing.

Those old commands from DOS times, however, use the slashes for options, so they can't handle them in file names. Stupid thing.

ScreenConnect 6.0 Free Trial

Want empowering updates? You're in the right place! Discover new features in ScreenConnect 6.0, based on partner feedback, to keep you business operating smoothly and optimally (the way it should be). Explore all of the extras and enhancements for yourself!

LVL 17

Expert Comment

ID: 10722223
I wonder what the overall impact on the global economy has been made by the decision to make the default switch character '/' in DOS. Was that something DOS inherited from CPM?
LVL 12

Expert Comment

ID: 10722655
Looks like CP/M is even more primitive:

LVL 17

Expert Comment

ID: 10722880
Directories were introduced in MS-DOS 2.0, so I guess that's when the bright idea about using the '\' came about. I now see from that the '/' "switch" character wasn't specifically the option lead-in character in CP/M, but it does date back to those days. If only those guys could have realised the impact of their arbitrary choices.

Expert Comment

ID: 10724405
Adding to Stefan's comment,

to see the result,u'll have to execute the executable if ur working in DOS.
Just Running the cpp file wont do.

Featured Post

U.S. Department of Agriculture and Acronis Access

With the new era of mobile computing, smartphones and tablets, wireless communications and cloud services, the USDA sought to take advantage of a mobilized workforce and the blurring lines between personal and corporate computing resources.

Question has a verified solution.

If you are experiencing a similar issue, please ask a related question

Suggested Solutions

Title # Comments Views Activity
SQL Statment to match two tables in c# 6 77
Using unmanaged DLL from managed application 14 290
Why does module make constant click noise ? 9 125
Why isn't object file created? 6 42
Have you thought about creating an iPhone application (app), but didn't even know where to get started? Here's how: ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ Important pre-programming comments: I’ve never tri…
This tutorial is posted by Aaron Wojnowski, administrator at  To view more iPhone tutorials, visit This is a very simple tutorial on finding the user's current location easily. In this tutorial, you will learn ho…
The goal of this video is to provide viewers with basic examples to understand opening and writing to files in the C programming language.
The goal of this video is to provide viewers with basic examples to understand how to use strings and some functions related to them in the C programming language.

920 members asked questions and received personalized solutions in the past 7 days.

Join the community of 500,000 technology professionals and ask your questions.

Join & Ask a Question

Need Help in Real-Time?

Connect with top rated Experts

14 Experts available now in Live!

Get 1:1 Help Now