File Handle

Why Trust Techopedia

What Does File Handle Mean?

A file handle, in the context of computing, is a temporary reference number that an operating system assigns to a file requested by a user to be opened. The system calls, accesses and interacts with the file through that reference number throughout the session until the user terminates the file or the system session.

Advertisements

Techopedia Explains File Handle

A file handle removes the trouble of remembering the name of a file that is currently opened in the system by assigning it a temporary reference number through witch it can be accessed by the operating system itself. This practice not only saves processing time, but also memory of event log happenings. It is important to understand that a file handle is only an internal reference to a file; the user still sees the file by its name. In operating systems such as DOS or Windows, the maximum number of files that can be handled simultaneously can be set by typing a FILES= statement in CONFIG.SYS.

Advertisements

Related Terms

Margaret Rouse
Technology Expert
Margaret Rouse
Technology Expert

Margaret is an award-winning technical writer and teacher known for her ability to explain complex technical subjects to a non-technical business audience. Over the past twenty years, her IT definitions have been published by Que in an encyclopedia of technology terms and cited in articles by the New York Times, Time Magazine, USA Today, ZDNet, PC Magazine, and Discovery Magazine. She joined Techopedia in 2011. Margaret's idea of a fun day is helping IT and business professionals learn to speak each other’s highly specialized languages.