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DirectoryInfo.GetFiles Method (String)

Returns a file list from the current directory matching the given search pattern.

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

public FileInfo[] GetFiles(
	string searchPattern
)

Parameters

searchPattern
Type: System.String

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

Return Value

Type: System.IO.FileInfo[]
An array of type FileInfo.

ExceptionCondition
ArgumentException

searchPattern contains one or more invalid characters defined by the GetInvalidPathChars method.

ArgumentNullException

searchPattern is null.

DirectoryNotFoundException

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

SecurityException

The caller does not have the required permission.

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 string "*t" searches for all names in ending with the letter "t". The searchPattern string "s*" searches for all names in path beginning with the letter "s".

The EnumerateFiles and GetFiles methods differ as follows:

  • When you use EnumerateFiles, you can start enumerating the collection of FileInfo objects before the whole collection is returned.

  • When you use GetFiles, you must wait for the whole array of FileInfo objects to be returned before you can access the array.

Therefore, when you are working with many files and directories, EnumerateFiles can be more efficient.

If there are no files in the DirectoryInfo, this method returns an empty array.

The following wildcard specifiers are permitted in the searchPattern parameter.

Wildcard character

Description

*

Zero or more characters.

?

Exactly one character.

The order of the returned file names is not guaranteed; use the Sort() method if a specific sort order is required.

Wildcards are permitted. For example, the searchPattern string "*.txt" searches for all file names having an extension of "txt". The searchPattern string "s*" searches for all file names beginning with the letter "s". If there are no files, or no files that match the searchPattern string in the DirectoryInfo, this method returns an empty array.

NoteNote

When using the asterisk wildcard character in a searchPattern (for example, "*.txt"), the matching behavior varies depending on the length of the specified file extension. A searchPattern with a file extension of exactly three characters returns files with an extension of three or more characters, where the first three characters match the file extension specified in the searchPattern. A searchPattern with a file extension of one, two, or more than three characters returns only files with extensions of exactly that length that match the file extension specified in the searchPattern. When using the question mark wildcard character, this method returns only files that match the specified file extension. For example, given two files in a directory, "file1.txt" and "file1.txtother", a search pattern of "file?.txt" returns only the first file, while 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" will return "longfilename.txt" because the equivalent 8.3 file name format would be "longf~1.txt".

This method pre-populates the values of the following FileInfo properties:

The following example shows how to get a list of files from a directory by using different search options. The example assumes a directory that has files named log1.txt, log2.txt, test1.txt, test2.txt, test3.txt, and a subdirectory that has a file named SubFile.txt.

using System;
using System.IO;

namespace ConsoleApplication1
{
    class Program
    {
        static void Main(string[] args)
        {
            DirectoryInfo di = new DirectoryInfo(@"C:\Users\tomfitz\Documents\ExampleDir");
            Console.WriteLine("No search pattern returns:");
            foreach (var fi in di.GetFiles())
            {
                Console.WriteLine(fi.Name);
            }

            Console.WriteLine();

            Console.WriteLine("Search pattern *2* returns:");
            foreach (var fi in di.GetFiles("*2*"))
            {
                Console.WriteLine(fi.Name);
            }

            Console.WriteLine();

            Console.WriteLine("Search pattern test?.txt returns:");
            foreach (var fi in di.GetFiles("test?.txt"))
            {
                Console.WriteLine(fi.Name);
            }

            Console.WriteLine();

            Console.WriteLine("Search pattern AllDirectories returns:");
            foreach (var fi in di.GetFiles("*", SearchOption.AllDirectories))
            {
                Console.WriteLine(fi.Name);
            }
        }
    }
}
/* 
This code produces output similar to the following:

No search pattern returns:
log1.txt
log2.txt
test1.txt
test2.txt
test3.txt

Search pattern *2* returns:
log2.txt
test2.txt

Search pattern test?.txt returns:
test1.txt
test2.txt
test3.txt

Search pattern AllDirectories returns:
log1.txt
log2.txt
test1.txt
test2.txt
test3.txt
SubFile.txt
Press any key to continue . . .

*/

.NET Framework

Supported in: 4.5.2, 4.5.1, 4.5, 4, 3.5, 3.0, 2.0, 1.1, 1.0

.NET Framework Client Profile

Supported in: 4, 3.5 SP1

.NET for Windows Phone apps

Supported in: Windows Phone 8.1, Windows Phone 8, Silverlight 8.1

Windows Phone 8.1, Windows Phone 8, 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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