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File.Open Method (String, FileMode)

.NET Framework 1.1

Opens a FileStream on the specified path with read/write access.

[Visual Basic]
Overloads Public Shared Function Open( _
   ByVal path As String, _
   ByVal mode As FileMode _
) As FileStream
public static FileStream Open(
 string path,
 FileMode mode
public: static FileStream* Open(
 String* path,
 FileMode mode
public static function Open(
   path : String,
 mode : FileMode
) : FileStream;


The file to open.
A FileMode value that specifies whether a file is created if one does not exist, and determines whether the contents of existing files are retained or overwritten.

Return Value

A FileStream opened in the specified mode and path, with read/write access and not shared.


Exception Type Condition
ArgumentException path is a zero-length string, contains only white space, or contains one or more invalid characters as defined by InvalidPathChars.
ArgumentNullException path 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, such as being on an unmapped drive.
IOException An I/O error occurred while opening the file.
UnauthorizedAccessException path specified a file that is read-only.


This operation is not supported on the current platform.


path specified a directory.


The caller does not have the required permission.

ArgumentOutOfRangeException mode specified an invalid value.
FileNotFoundException The file specified in path was not found.
NotSupportedException path is in an invalid format.


This method is equivalent to FileStream(String, FileMode, FileAccess.ReadWrite, FileShare.None).

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.

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
Append text to a file. Opening and Appending to a Log File



Rename or move a file. File.Move


Copy a file. File.Copy


Get the size of a file. FileInfo.Length
Get the attributes of a file. File.GetAttributes
Set the attributes of a file. File.SetAttributes
Determine if a file exists. File.Exists
Read from a binary file. Reading and Writing to a Newly Created Data File
Write to a binary file. Reading and Writing to a Newly Created Data File
Create a directory. CreateDirectory



[Visual Basic, C#, C++] The following example opens a file. If the file does not exist, it is not created.

[Visual Basic] 
Imports System
Imports System.IO
Imports System.Text

Public Class Test
    Public Shared Sub Main()
        Dim path As String = "c:\temp\MyTest.txt"
        Dim fs As FileStream

        ' Delete the file if it exists.
        If File.Exists(path) = False Then
            'Create the file.
            fs = File.Create(path)
            Dim info As Byte() = New UTF8Encoding(True).GetBytes("This is some text in the file.")
            ' Add some information to the file.
            fs.Write(info, 0, info.Length)
        End If

        ' Open the stream and read it back.
        fs = File.Open(path, FileMode.Open)
        Dim b(1024) As Byte
        Dim temp As UTF8Encoding = New UTF8Encoding(True)
        Do While fs.Read(b, 0, b.Length) > 0
    End Sub
End Class

using System;
using System.IO;
using System.Text;

class Test 
    public static void Main() 
        string path = @"c:\temp\MyTest.txt";

        // Delete the file if it exists.
        if (!File.Exists(path)) 
            // Create the file.
            using (FileStream fs = File.Create(path)) 
                Byte[] info = new UTF8Encoding(true).GetBytes("This is some text in the file.");
                // Add some information to the file.
                fs.Write(info, 0, info.Length);

        // Open the stream and read it back.
        using (FileStream fs = File.Open(path, FileMode.Open)) 
            byte[] b = new byte[1024];
            UTF8Encoding temp = new UTF8Encoding(true);

            while (fs.Read(b,0,b.Length) > 0) 

#using <mscorlib.dll>

using namespace System;
using namespace System::IO;
using namespace System::Text;

int main() {
    String* path = S"c:\\temp\\MyTest.txt";

    // Delete the file if it exists.
    if (!File::Exists(path)) {
        // Create the file.
        FileStream* fs = File::Create(path);
        try {
            Byte info[] = (new UTF8Encoding(true))->GetBytes(S"This is some text in the file.");
            // Add some information to the file.
            fs->Write(info, 0, info->Length);
        } __finally {
            if (fs) __try_cast<IDisposable*>(fs)->Dispose();

    // Open the stream and read it back.
    FileStream* fs = File::Open(path, FileMode::Open);
    try {
        Byte b[] = new Byte[1024];
        UTF8Encoding* temp = new UTF8Encoding(true);

        while (fs->Read(b,0,b->Length) > 0) {

    } __finally {
        if (fs) __try_cast<IDisposable*>(fs)->Dispose();

[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

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