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Directory.GetFiles Method (String, String, SearchOption)

Returns the names of files (including their paths) that match the specified search pattern in the specified directory, using a value to determine whether to search subdirectories.

Namespace:  System.IO
Assembly:  mscorlib (in mscorlib.dll)

public static string[] GetFiles(
	string path,
	string searchPattern,
	SearchOption searchOption
)

Parameters

path
Type: System.String

The relative or absolute path to the directory to search. This string is not case-sensitive.

searchPattern
Type: System.String

The search string to match against the names of files in path. This parameter can contain a combination of valid literal path and wildcard (* and ?) characters (see Remarks), but doesn't support regular expressions.

searchOption
Type: System.IO.SearchOption

One of the enumeration values that specifies whether the search operation should include all subdirectories or only the current directory.

Return Value

Type: System.String[]
An array of the full names (including paths) for the files in the specified directory that match the specified search pattern and option, or an empty array if no files are found.

ExceptionCondition
ArgumentException

path is a zero-length string, contains only white space, or contains one or more invalid characters. You can query for invalid characters with the GetInvalidPathChars method.

-or-

searchPattern does not contain a valid pattern.

ArgumentNullException

path or searchpattern is null.

ArgumentOutOfRangeException

searchOption is not a valid SearchOption value.

UnauthorizedAccessException

The caller does not have the required permission.

DirectoryNotFoundException

The specified path is not found or is invalid (for example, it is on an unmapped drive).

PathTooLongException

The specified path, file name, or both exceed the system-defined maximum length. For example, on Windows-based platforms, paths must be less than 248 characters and file names must be less than 260 characters.

IOException

path is a file name.

-or-

A network error has occurred.

The returned file names are appended to the supplied parameter path and the order of the returned file names is not guaranteed; use the Sort() method if a specific sort order is required.

searchPattern can be a combination of literal and wildcard characters, but doesn't support regular expressions. The following wildcard specifiers are permitted in searchPattern.

Wildcard specifier

Matches

* (asterisk)

Zero or more characters in that position.

? (question mark)

Zero or one character in that position.

Characters other than the wildcard are literal characters. For example, the searchPattern string "*t" searches for all names in path ending with the letter "t". The searchPattern string "s*" searches for all names in path beginning with the letter "s".

searchPattern cannot end in two periods ("..") or contain two periods ("..") followed by DirectorySeparatorChar or AltDirectorySeparatorChar, nor can it contain any invalid characters. You can query for invalid characters by using the GetInvalidPathChars method.

NoteNote

When you use the asterisk wildcard character in a searchPattern such as "*.txt", the number of characters in the specified extension affects the search as follows:

  • If the specified extension is exactly three characters long, the method returns files with extensions that begin with the specified extension. For example, "*.xls" returns both "book.xls" and "book.xlsx".

  • In all other cases, the method returns files that exactly match the specified extension. For example, "*.ai" returns "file.ai" but not "file.aif".

When you use the question mark wildcard character, this method returns only files that match the specified file extension. For example, given two files, "file1.txt" and "file1.txtother", in a directory, a search pattern of "file?.txt" returns just the first file, whereas a search pattern of "file*.txt" returns both files.

NoteNote

Because this method checks against file names with both the 8.3 file name format and the long file name format, a search pattern similar to "*1*.txt" may return unexpected file names. For example, using a search pattern of "*1*.txt" returns "longfilename.txt" because the equivalent 8.3 file name format is "LONGFI~1.TXT".

The EnumerateFiles and GetFiles methods differ as follows: When you use EnumerateFiles, you can start enumerating the collection of names before the whole collection is returned; when you use GetFiles, you must wait for the whole array of names to be returned before you can access the array. Therefore, when you are working with many files and directories, EnumerateFiles can be more efficient.

The file names include the full path.

The path parameter can specify relative or absolute path information. Relative path information is interpreted as relative to the current working directory. To obtain the current working directory, see GetCurrentDirectory.

The path parameter is not case-sensitive.

For a list of common I/O tasks, see Common I/O Tasks.

.NET Framework

Supported in: 4.5, 4, 3.5, 3.0, 2.0

.NET Framework Client Profile

Supported in: 4, 3.5 SP1

Windows 8.1, Windows Server 2012 R2, Windows 8, Windows Server 2012, Windows 7, Windows Vista SP2, Windows Server 2008 (Server Core Role not supported), Windows Server 2008 R2 (Server Core Role supported with SP1 or later; Itanium not supported)

The .NET Framework does not support all versions of every platform. For a list of the supported versions, see .NET Framework System Requirements.

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