Retrieves the names of all sections in an initialization file.
Note This function is provided only for compatibility with 16-bit Windows-based applications. Applications should store initialization information in the registry.
DWORD WINAPI GetPrivateProfileSectionNames( _Out_ LPTSTR lpszReturnBuffer, _In_ DWORD nSize, _In_ LPCTSTR lpFileName );
- lpszReturnBuffer [out]
A pointer to a buffer that receives the section names associated with the named file. The buffer is filled with one or more null-terminated strings; the last string is followed by a second null character.
- nSize [in]
The size of the buffer pointed to by the lpszReturnBuffer parameter, in characters.
- lpFileName [in]
The name of the initialization file. If this parameter is NULL, the function searches the Win.ini file. If this parameter does not contain a full path to the file, the system searches for the file in the Windows directory.
The return value specifies the number of characters copied to the specified buffer, not including the terminating null character. If the buffer is not large enough to contain all the section names associated with the specified initialization file, the return value is equal to the size specified by nSize minus two.
This operation is atomic; no updates to the initialization file are allowed while the section names are being copied to the buffer.
The system maps most .ini file references to the registry, using the mapping defined under the following registry key:
This mapping is likely if an application modifies system-component initialization files, such as Control.ini, System.ini, and Winfile.ini. In these cases, the function retrieves information from the registry, not from the initialization file; the change in the storage location has no effect on the function's behavior.
The profile functions use the following steps to locate initialization information:
- Look in the registry for the name of the initialization file under the IniFileMapping key.
- Look for the section name specified by lpAppName. This will be a named value under the key that has the name of the initialization file, or a subkey with this name, or the name will not exist as either a value or subkey.
- If the section name specified by lpAppName is a named value, then that value specifies where in the registry you will find the keys for the section.
- If the section name specified by lpAppName is a subkey, then named values under that subkey specify where in the registry you will find the keys for the section. If the key you are looking for does not exist as a named value, then there will be an unnamed value (shown as <No Name>) that specifies the default location in the registry where you will find the key.
- If the section name specified by lpAppName does not exist as a named value or as a subkey, then there will be an unnamed value (shown as <No Name>) that specifies the default location in the registry where you will find the keys for the section.
- If there is no subkey or entry for the section name, then look for the actual initialization file on the disk and read its contents.
When looking at values in the registry that specify other registry locations, there are several prefixes that change the behavior of the .ini file mapping:
- ! - this character forces all writes to go both to the registry and to the .ini file on disk.
- # - this character causes the registry value to be set to the value in the Windows 3.1 .ini file when a new user logs in for the first time after setup.
- @ - this character prevents any reads from going to the .ini file on disk if the requested data is not found in the registry.
- USR: - this prefix stands for HKEY_CURRENT_USER, and the text after the prefix is relative to that key.
- SYS: - this prefix stands for HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE, and the text after the prefix is relative to that key.
Minimum supported client
|Windows 2000 Professional [desktop apps only]|
Minimum supported server
|Windows 2000 Server [desktop apps only]|
Unicode and ANSI names
|GetPrivateProfileSectionNamesW (Unicode) and GetPrivateProfileSectionNamesA (ANSI)|
Build date: 10/26/2012