Directory Class

Exposes static methods for creating, moving, and enumerating through directories and subdirectories. This class cannot be inherited.

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

<ComVisibleAttribute(True)> _
Public NotInheritable Class Directory
The members of a static class are accessed directly without an instance of the class.
/** @attribute ComVisibleAttribute(true) */ 
public final class Directory
public final class Directory

Use the Directory class for typical operations such as copying, moving, renaming, creating, and deleting directories. You can also use the Directory class to get and set DateTime information related to the creation, access, and writing of a directory.

Because all Directory methods are static, it might be more efficient to use a Directory method rather than a corresponding DirectoryInfo instance method if you want to perform only one action. Most Directory methods require the path to the directory that you are manipulating.

The static methods of the Directory class perform security checks on all methods. If you are going to reuse an object several times, consider using the corresponding instance method of DirectoryInfo instead, because the security check will not always be necessary.


In members that accept a path as an input string, that path must be well-formed or an exception is raised. For example, if a path is fully qualified but begins with a space, the path is not trimmed in methods of the class. Therefore, the path is malformed and an exception is raised. Similarly, a path or a combination of paths cannot be fully qualified twice. For example, "c:\temp c:\windows" also raises an exception in most cases. Ensure that your paths are well-formed when using methods that accept a path string.

In members that accept a path, the path can refer to a file or just a directory. The specified path can also refer to a relative path or a Universal Naming Convention (UNC) path for a server and share name. For example, all the following are acceptable paths:

  • "c:\\MyDir" in C#, or "c:\MyDir" in Visual Basic.

  • "MyDir\\MySubdir" in C#, or "MyDir\MySubDir" in Visual Basic.

  • "\\\\MyServer\\MyShare" in C#, or "\\MyServer\MyShare" in Visual Basic.

By default, full read/write access to new directories is granted to all users. Demanding permission for a directory where the path string ends with the directory separator character results in demanding permissions for all of the contained subdirectories (for example "C:\Temp\"). If permissions are only required for a specific directory, the string should end with a "." character (for example "C:\Temp\.").

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.



Delete a directory.



Create a directory.



Create a subdirectory.


See the files in a directory.


See the subdirectories of a directory.



See all the files in all subdirectories of a directory.


Find the size of a directory.


Determine if a file exists.


Sort files in a directory by size.


Determine if a directory exists.


The following code example determines whether a specified directory exists, deletes it if it exists, and creates it if it does not exist. This example then moves the directory, creates a file in the directory, and counts the files in the directory.

Imports System
Imports System.IO

Public Class Test

    Public Shared Sub Main()
        'Specify the directories you want to manipulate.
        Dim path As String = "c:\MyDir"
        Dim target As String = "c:\TestDir"

            ' Determine whethers the directory exists.
            If Directory.Exists(path) = False Then
                ' Create the directory.
            End If

            If Directory.Exists(target) Then
                ' Delete the target to ensure it is not there.
                Directory.Delete(target, True)
            End If

            ' Move the directory.
            Directory.Move(path, target)

            'Create a file in the directory.
            File.CreateText(target + "\myfile.txt")

            'Count the files in the target.
            Console.WriteLine("The number of files in {0} is {1}", _
              target, Directory.GetFiles(target).Length)

        Catch e As Exception
            Console.WriteLine("The process failed: {0}", e.ToString())
        End Try
    End Sub
End Class

import System.*;
import System.IO.*;

class Test
    public static void main(String[] args)
        // Specify the directories you want to manipulate.
        String path = "c:\\MyDir";
        String target = "c:\\TestDir";

        try {
            // Determine whether the directory exists.
            if (!(Directory.Exists(path))) {
                // Create the directory it does not exist.

            if (Directory.Exists(target)) {
                // Delete the target to ensure it is not there.
                Directory.Delete(target, true);

            // Move the directory.
            Directory.Move(path, target);

            // Create a file in the directory.
            File.CreateText(target + "\\myfile.txt");

            // Count the files in the target directory.
            Console.WriteLine("The number of files in {0} is {1}", target,
        catch (System.Exception e) {
            Console.WriteLine("The process failed: {0}", e.ToString());
        finally {
    } //main
} //Test

The following code example demonstrates how to calculate the size of a directory.

' The following example calculates the size of a directory
' and its subdirectories, if any, and displays the total size
' in bytes.
Imports System
Imports System.IO
Imports Microsoft.VisualBasic

Public Class ShowDirSize

    Public Shared Function DirSize(ByVal d As DirectoryInfo) As Long
        Dim Size As Long = 0
        ' Add file sizes.
        Dim fis As FileInfo() = d.GetFiles()
        Dim fi As FileInfo
        For Each fi In fis
            Size += fi.Length
        Next fi
        ' Add subdirectory sizes.
        Dim dis As DirectoryInfo() = d.GetDirectories()
        Dim di As DirectoryInfo
        For Each di In dis
            Size += DirSize(di)
        Next di
        Return Size
    End Function 'DirSize

    Public Overloads Shared Sub Main(ByVal args() As String)
        If args.Length <> 1 Then
            Console.WriteLine("You must provide a directory argument at the command line.")
            Dim d As New DirectoryInfo(args(0))
            Console.WriteLine("The size of {0} and its subdirectories is {1} bytes.", d, DirSize(d))
        End If
    End Sub 'Main
End Class 'ShowDirSize


Any public static (Shared in Visual Basic) members of this type are thread safe. Any instance members are not guaranteed to be thread safe.

Windows 98, Windows 2000 SP4, Windows CE, Windows Millennium Edition, Windows Mobile for Pocket PC, Windows Mobile for Smartphone, 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, 1.1, 1.0

.NET Compact Framework

Supported in: 2.0, 1.0