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From The Free On-line Dictionary of Computing (18 March 2015) :

  computer file
      An element of data storage in a file system.
     The history of computing is rich in varied kinds of files and
     file systems, whether ornate like the Macintosh file
     system or deficient like many simple pre-1980s file systems
     that didn't have directories.  However, a typical file has
     these characteristics:
     * It is a single sequence of bytes (but consider Macintosh
     resource forks).
     * It has a finite length, unlike, e.g., a Unix device.
     * It is stored in a non-volatile storage medium (but see
     * It exists (nominally) in a directory.
     * It has a name that it can be referred to by in file
     operations, possibly in combination with its path.
     Additionally, a file system may support other file
     attributes, such as permissions; timestamps for creation,
     last modification, and last access and revision numbers (a` la
     Compare: document.

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