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Directory.GetDirectories Method (String, String)

.NET Framework 1.1

Gets an array of directories matching the specified search pattern from the current directory.

[Visual Basic]
Overloads Public Shared Function GetDirectories( _
   ByVal path As String, _
   ByVal searchPattern As String _
) As String()
public static string[] GetDirectories(
 string path,
 string searchPattern
public: static String* GetDirectories(
 String* path,
 String* searchPattern
)  __gc[];
public static function GetDirectories(
   path : String,
 searchPattern : String
) : String[];


The path to search.
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.

Return Value

A String array of directories matching the search pattern.


Exception Type Condition
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.


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.
IOException path is a file name.
DirectoryNotFoundException The specified path is invalid, such as being on an unmapped drive.


The following wildcard specifiers are permitted in searchPattern.

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

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.

For an example of using this method, see the Example section below. 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. Writing Text to a File
Write to a text file. Writing Text to a File
Read from a text file. Reading Text from a File
Copy a directory. Directory
Rename or move a directory. Directory.Move


Delete a directory. Directory.Delete


Create a directory. CreateDirectory


Create a subdirectory. CreateSubdirectory
See the files in a directory. Name
See all the files in all subdirectories of a directory. GetFileSystemInfos
Find the size of a directory. Directory
Determine if a directory exists. Exists


[Visual Basic, C#, C++] The following example counts the number of directories in a path that begin with the specified letter.

[Visual Basic] 
Imports System
Imports System.IO

Public Class Test
    Public Shared Sub Main()
            ' Only get subdirectories that begin with the letter "p."
            Dim dirs As String() = Directory.GetDirectories("c:\", "p*")
            Console.WriteLine("The number of directories starting with p is {0}.", dirs.Length)
            Dim dir As String
            For Each dir In dirs
        Catch e As Exception
            Console.WriteLine("The process failed: {0}", e.ToString())
        End Try
    End Sub
End Class

using System;
using System.IO;

class Test 
    public static void Main() 
            // Only get subdirectories that begin with the letter "p."
            string[] dirs = Directory.GetDirectories(@"c:\", "p*");
            Console.WriteLine("The number of directories starting with p is {0}.", dirs.Length);
            foreach (string dir in dirs) 
        catch (Exception e) 
            Console.WriteLine("The process failed: {0}", e.ToString());

#using <mscorlib.dll>

using namespace System;
using namespace System::IO;

int main() {
    try {
        // Only get subdirectories that begin with the letter "p."
        String* dirs[] = Directory::GetDirectories(S"c:\\", S"p*");
        Console::WriteLine(S"The number of directories starting with p is {0}.", __box(dirs->Length));
        Collections::IEnumerator* myEnum = dirs->GetEnumerator();
        while (myEnum->MoveNext()) {
    } catch (Exception* e) {
        Console::WriteLine(S"The process failed: {0}", e);

[JScript] No example is available for JScript. To view a Visual Basic, C#, or C++ example, click the Language Filter button Language Filter in the upper-left corner of the page.


Platforms: Windows 98, Windows NT 4.0, Windows Millennium Edition, Windows 2000, Windows XP Home Edition, Windows XP Professional, Windows Server 2003 family, .NET Compact Framework, Common Language Infrastructure (CLI) Standard

.NET Framework Security: 

See Also

Directory Class | Directory Members | System.IO Namespace | Directory.GetDirectories Overload List | Working with I/O | Reading Text from a File | Writing Text to a File