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Directory.GetFiles Method (String, String, SearchOption)

Note: This method is new in the .NET Framework version 2.0.

Returns the names of files in the specified directory that match the specified search pattern, 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
)
public static String[] GetFiles (
	String path, 
	String searchPattern, 
	SearchOption searchOption
)
public static function GetFiles (
	path : String, 
	searchPattern : String, 
	searchOption : SearchOption
) : String[]

Parameters

path

The directory to search.

searchPattern

The search string to match against the names of files in path. The parameter cannot end in two periods ("..") or contain two periods ("..") followed by DirectorySeparatorChar or AltDirectorySeparatorChar, nor can it contain any of the characters in InvalidPathChars.

searchOption

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

Return Value

A String array containing the names of files in the specified directory that match the specified search pattern. File names include the full path.

Exception typeCondition

IOException

path is a file name.

UnauthorizedAccessException

The caller does not have the required permission.

ArgumentException

path is a zero-length string, contains only white space, or contains one or more invalid characters as defined by InvalidPathChars.

-or-

searchPattern does not contain a valid pattern.

ArgumentNullException

path or searchpattern is a null reference (Nothing in Visual Basic).

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.

DirectoryNotFoundException

The specified path is invalid (for example, it is on an unmapped drive).

The file names include the full path.

The following wildcard specifiers are permitted in the searchPattern parameter.

Wildcard character

Description

*

Zero or more characters.

?

Exactly one character.

Characters other than the wildcard specifiers represent themselves. For example, the searchPattern string "*t" searches for all names in the path parameter ending with the letter "t". The searchPattern string "s*" searches for all names in path beginning with the letter "s".

The matching behavior of searchPattern when the extension is exactly three characters long is different from when the extension is more than three characters long. A searchPattern of exactly three characters returns files having an extension of three or more characters. A searchPattern of one, two, or more than three characters returns only files having extensions of exactly that length.

NoteNote

A search pattern using the asterisk matches all extensions with a wildcard on the end, while a search pattern using the question mark does not use a wildcard. For example, given two files in a directory (file1.txt and file1.txtother), a search pattern of "file?.txt" returns just the first file, while a search pattern of "file*.txt" returns both files.

The following list shows the behavior of different lengths for the searchPattern parameter:

  • "*.abc*" returns files having an extension of.abc,.abcd,.abcde,.abcdef, and so on.

  • "*.abcd" returns only files having an extension of.abcd.

  • "*.abcde" returns only files having an extension of.abcde.

  • "*.abcdef" returns only files having an extension of.abcdef.

The path parameter is permitted to 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.

The following table lists examples of other typical or related I/O tasks.

To do this...

See the example in this topic...

Create a text file.

How to: Write Text to a File

Write to a text file.

How to: Write Text to a File

Read from a text file.

How to: Read Text from a File

Rename or move a directory.

Directory.Move

DirectoryInfo.MoveTo

Rename or move a file.

File.Move

FileInfo.MoveTo

Delete a directory.

Directory.Delete

DirectoryInfo.Delete

Create a directory.

CreateDirectory

Directory

Create a subdirectory.

CreateSubdirectory

See the files in a directory.

Name

See the subdirectories of a directory.

GetDirectories

GetDirectories

See all the files in all subdirectories of a directory.

GetFileSystemInfos

Find the size of a directory.

Directory

Determine if a file exists.

Exists

Determine if a directory exists.

Exists

Get file attributes.

GetAttributes

Set file attributes.

SetAttributes

Windows 98, Windows 2000 SP4, Windows Millennium Edition, Windows Server 2003, Windows XP Media Center Edition, Windows XP Professional x64 Edition, Windows XP SP2, Windows XP Starter Edition

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

.NET Framework

Supported in: 2.0

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