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file Protocol

Opens a file on a local or network drive.




  • sDrives
    Specifies the local or network drive.
  • sFile
    Optional. Specifies the file to open. If sFile is omitted and the account accessing the drive has permission to browse the directory, a list of accessible files and directories is displayed.


The file protocol and sDrives parameter can be omitted and substituted with just the command line representation of the drive letter and file location. For example, to browse the My Documents directory, the file protocol can be specified as file:///C|/My Documents/ or as C:\My Documents\. In addition, a single '\' is equivalent to specifying the root directory on the primary local drive. On most computers, this is C:\.

Available as of Microsoft Internet Explorer 3.0 or later.

Note  Internet Explorer 6  Service Pack 1 (SP1) no longer allows browsing a local machine from the Internet zone. For instance, if an Internet site contains a link to a local file, Internet Explorer 6  SP1 displays a blank page when a user clicks on the link. Previous versions of Windows Internet Explorer followed the link to the local file.


The following sample demonstrates four ways to use the File protocol.

//Specifying a drive and a file name. 

file:///C|/My Documents/ALetter.html

//Specifying only a drive and a path to browse the directory. 

file:///C|/My Documents/

//Specifying a drive and a directory using the command line representation of the directory location. 

C:\My Documents\

//Specifying only the directory on the local primary drive. 

\My Documents\