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8.18. Validate Windows Paths

Problem

You want to check whether a string looks like a valid path to a folder or file on the Microsoft Windows operating system.

Solution

Drive letter paths

\A
[a-z]:\\                    # Drive
(?:[^\\/:*?"<>|\r\n]+\\)*   # Folder
[^\\/:*?"<>|\r\n]*          # File
\Z
Regex options: Free-spacing, case insensitive
Regex flavors: .NET, Java, PCRE, Perl, Python, Ruby
^[a-z]:\\(?:[^\\/:*?"<>|\r\n]+\\)*[^\\/:*?"<>|\r\n]*$
Regex options: Case insensitive
Regex flavors: .NET, Java, JavaScript, PCRE, Perl, Python

Drive letter and UNC paths

\A
(?:[a-z]:|\\\\[a-z0-9_.$\-]+\\[a-z0-9_.$\-]+)\\  # Drive
(?:[^\\/:*?"<>|\r\n]+\\)*                           # Folder
[^\\/:*?"<>|\r\n]*                                  # File
\Z
Regex options: Free-spacing, case insensitive
Regex flavors: .NET, Java, PCRE, Perl, Python, Ruby
^(?:[a-z]:|\\\\[a-z0-9_.$-]+\\[a-z0-9_.$-]+)\\(?:[^\\/:*?"<>|\r\n]+\\)*↵
[^\\/:*?"<>|\r\n]*$
Regex options: Case insensitive
Regex flavors: .NET, Java, JavaScript, PCRE, Perl, Python

Drive letter, UNC, and relative paths

\A
(?:(?:[a-z]:|\\\\[a-z0-9_.$\-]+\\[a-z0-9_.$\-]+)\\|  # Drive
   \\?[^\\/:*?"<>|\r\n]+\\?)                           # Relative path
(?:[^\\/:*?"<>|\r\n]+\\)*                              # Folder
[^\\/:*?"<>|\r\n]*                                     # File
\Z
Regex options: Free-spacing, case insensitive
Regex flavors: .NET, Java, PCRE, Perl, Python, Ruby
^(?:(?:[a-z]:|\\\\[a-z0-9_.$-]+\\[a-z0-9_.$-]+)\\|\\?[^\\/:*?"<>|↵
\r\n]+\\?)(?:[^\\/:*?"<>|\r\n]+\\)*[^\\/:*?"<>|\r\n]*$
Regex options: Case insensitive
Regex flavors: .NET, Java, JavaScript, PCRE, Perl, Python

Discussion

Drive letter paths

Matching a full path to a file ...

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