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parsing changes to a directory name

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whats the best way to parse changes to a directory name? lets say i had a string like so std::string directory="C:\\"; and i had a function that would take a working directory and a destination directory like so changedirectory(directory,"windows"); and then directory would = C:\windows however if for example i then did changedirectory(directory,"..\\documents and settings"); then directory would = C:\documents and settings, this being able to support as many .. as needed so i can move relatively up any number of folders (if possible) and finaly if i did changedirectory(directory,"C:\\program files"); then directory would = C:\program files basicly i need to write a function that changes directories much like dos did. with support for both absolute and relative (in all forms) path changing. i can kinda see how this is done, but i dont wanna reinvent the wheel if i dont have to. and if someone knows a fast, efficient, and working method id be very greatful to see how this is done. Bungo!

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