This is probably a very poorly worded question, but the taxonomy of this question is what I'm looking for (so unfortunately at this point I can't help it).
Here is my question.
We don't walk around calling the file system representation for Centos "Centos File Paths", likewise we don't call the file system in Ubuntu "Ubuntu File Paths" or even "Linux File Paths" - I typically see these referred to as NFS paths (whether this is correct or not).
I do hear Windows users refer to the file system representation (with drive letters) as "Windows file paths". So I guess I'm asking "What exactly is a Windows File path"? By this, I mean what are the underlying concepts and protocols that govern what a Windows file path is.
For further clarity, here are some examples. To my understanding, what I refer to as a NFS path (whether this is correct or incorrect) looks like this:
where each level/dir is divided by /
My naive taxonomy for "Windows path" looks something like:
So by default, when I jump onto one of the various Linux variants I use (Centos, Ubuntu) I usually refer to this as an NFS path. When I hop onto Windows, I call it a "Windows Path". I realize there are protocols and standards which probably govern this file system mapping (e.g. what maps c:\some-dir to sections of a disk), and Google has pointed me to CIFS/SMB described here: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cifs
But this seems to describe Windows network paths. I also saw the "drive naming scheme" here - http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/DOS#Drive_naming_scheme - but this doesn't really answer my question. When I jump on my Windows machine, what exactly makes a Windows path? Specifically, when I specify c:\some-dir\some-child-dir, what protocols and standards are being used by the operating system to point this address to part of my hard-drive? Let's assume we're talking about Windows 7 (although I'd also be interested to know if Windows 7 does this differently from other versions of Windows).
I realize this is probably noob question and the answer is probably very easy to find with the correct keywords, but the frustration of not knowing is starting to get to me.
No "Just Google it" answers please - I have done this extensively and it just seems to raise further questions. I'm looking for a technical explanation here.