The IT Law Wiki


A file is

a storage place for data . . . it's like a manila folder that contains all the data on a particular subject category in a computer.[1]
[u]sually an accumulation of records or nonrecord materials arranged according to a plan. Sometimes an accumulation of personal papers so arranged.[2]
[a] unit, such as a folder, microform, or electronic medium, containing such records, nonrecord materials, or personal papers.[3]

A file is "[s]torage equipment, such as a filing cabinet."[4]


On storage devices, there are typically two types of files: data files, such as text documents, spreadsheets, images, and videos, and system files, such as operating system and application binaries and libraries.


  1. Whelan Assocs., Inc. v. Jaslow Dental Lab., Inc., 797 F.2d 1222, 1242, 230 U.S.P.Q. (BNA) 481 (3d Cir. 1986) (full-text), cert. denied, 479 U.S. 1031 (1987).
  2. EPA, Vocabulary Catalog List Detail - Records Glossary (full-text).
  3. Id.
  4. Id.