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\\ or / in pathnames -- your choice

The problem should now be apparent. The backslashes, being escape characters, are not displayed. There are two ways to fix this:

The forward slashes are the preferred option, even under Win32, because you can then port the script direct to Unix or other platforms (assuming you don't use drive letters), and it is less typing. If you wish to use Perl to start external processes then you must use the \\ method, but this variable will be used only in a Perl program, not as a parameter to start an external program. Changing the $stuff variable results in a working script. Always check your return codes !