C++ FAQ Celebrating Twenty-One Years of the C++ FAQ!!!
(Click here for a personal note from Marshall Cline.)
Section 15:
[15.16] Why can't I open a file in a different directory such as "..\test.dat"?

Because "\t" is a tab character.

You should use forward slashes in your filenames, even on operating systems that use backslashes (DOS, Windows, OS/2, etc.). For example:

#include <iostream>
#include <fstream>

int main()
  #if 1
    std::ifstream file("../test.dat");  // RIGHT!
    std::ifstream file("..\test.dat");  // WRONG!

Remember, the backslash ("\") is used in string literals to create special characters: "\n" is a newline, "\b" is a backspace, and "\t" is a tab, "\a" is an "alert", "\v" is a vertical-tab, etc. Therefore the file name "\version\next\alpha\beta\test.dat" is interpreted as a bunch of very funny characters. To be safe, use "/version/next/alpha/beta/test.dat" instead, even on systems that use a "\" as the directory separator. This is because the library routines on these operating systems handle "/" and "\" interchangeably.

Of course you could use "\\version\\next\\alpha\\beta\\test.dat", but that might hurt you (there's a non-zero chance you'll forget one of the "\"s, a rather subtle bug since most people don't notice it) and it can't help you (there's no benefit for using "\\" over "/"). Besides "/" is more portable since it works on all flavors of Unix, Plan 9, Inferno, all Windows, OS/2, etc., but "\\" works only on a subset of that list. So "\\" costs you something and gains you nothing: use "/" instead.