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Is there a specific name for the “.\” (dot-slash) shorthand used to log onto a Windows machine?

I came across a server on an older windows server 2003 box today which is logging on as:

.\SomeAccountName

I have never encountered the use of ".\" before in this context.

Does it mean to use the "SomeAccountName" of the current domain the machine is operating under? Or something else entirely?

Second question would be, why might someone use this? Portability?

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marked as duplicate by Shane Madden, John Gardeniers, EightBitTony, voretaq7 Oct 19 '12 at 19:10

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2 Answers 2

up vote 10 down vote accepted

The period is a short-name for "current machine". If I'm attempting to RDP into a machine named CLASS02 in a domain univ.example.com with a local-user named 'class_eng' I could do so as:

  • CLASS02\class_eng
  • class_eng (assuming the RDP client itself doesn't auto-fill a domain or machine
  • .\class_eng

It's a portability thing.

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.\ means local machine, so the account is logging in using an account defined on the local machine.

however, if the machine in question is a domain controller, then there are no local accounts as the domain database serves as the local account database for a domain controller. in this case, an account prefixed with .\ would be a domain account.

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