Well, I’m glad you asked. The first personal computer, the grand-grand-grandfather of the computer you’re using to read this, had “floppy disk drives”, that used a thin magnetic disk for data storage. Sometimes a computer had two floppy disk drives, one for holding the operating system files that enabled the computer to function, and another for storing documents and other files. These 2 drives were labeled “A” and “B”. If there was a hard disk present as well, its designated drive letter would then of course be “C”.
OK but what’s with the colon after the letter? To be honest, I don’t know. This is what I do know: back in the pre-Windows days, it was part of the path that showed where you where in a particular drive, in the tree directory. Don’t get confused. It’s very simple. If you have ever seen this in a computer monitor:
You get the idea. “c:” indicates the drive, “\” indicates that you are at the root directory, the first most basic directory, and “>” is an end symbol which indicates that after that comes whatever you as a user type. Typically a blinking cursor shows after that, so it looks like
(You’ll have to imagine the above cursor is blinking) 🙂
In modern Windows computers you can invoke a small black screen with the command prompt mode as described above by clicking on Start, Run, Command, or for Windows Vista/7, Start, typing “cmd” in the search box and pressing enter. Of course, the command prompt will probably look something like:
Want it to look like “c:\>”? at that command prompt, type cd\ and press enter. Voila!
Anyways, when you open My Computer to look at files and whatnot, normally you will see under it a (C:) and under there, in a tree directory fashion, a number of folders. Well, now you know what that (C:) means.