GetFileAttributes function

Retrieves file system attributes for a specified file or directory.

To get more attribute information, use the GetFileAttributesEx function.

To perform this operation as a transacted operation, use the GetFileAttributesTransacted function.


DWORD WINAPI GetFileAttributes(
  _In_ LPCTSTR lpFileName


lpFileName [in]

The name of the file or directory.

In the ANSI version of this function, the name is limited to MAX_PATH characters. To extend this limit to 32,767 wide characters, call the Unicode version of the function (GetFileAttributesW), and prepend "\\?\" to the path. For more information, see File Names, Paths, and Namespaces.

Tip  Starting in Windows 10, version 1607, for the unicode version of this function (GetFileAttributesW), you can opt-in to remove the MAX_PATH character limitation without prepending "\\?\". See the "Maximum Path Limitation" section of Naming Files, Paths, and Namespaces for details.

Return value

If the function succeeds, the return value contains the attributes of the specified file or directory. For a list of attribute values and their descriptions, see File Attribute Constants.

If the function fails, the return value is INVALID_FILE_ATTRIBUTES. To get extended error information, call GetLastError.


When GetFileAttributes is called on a directory that is a mounted folder, it returns the file system attributes of the directory, not those of the root directory in the volume that the mounted folder associates with the directory. To obtain the file attributes of the associated volume, call GetVolumeNameForVolumeMountPoint to obtain the name of the associated volume. Then use the resulting name in a call to GetFileAttributes. The results are the attributes of the root directory on the associated volume.

If you call GetFileAttributes for a network share, the function fails, and GetLastError returns ERROR_BAD_NETPATH. You must specify a path to a subfolder on that share.

In Windows 8 and Windows Server 2012, this function is supported by the following technologies.


Server Message Block (SMB) 3.0 protocol


SMB 3.0 Transparent Failover (TFO)


SMB 3.0 with Scale-out File Shares (SO)


Cluster Shared Volume File System (CsvFS)


Resilient File System (ReFS)



Symbolic link behavior—If the path points to a symbolic link, the function returns attributes for the symbolic link.

Transacted Operations

If a file is open for modification in a transaction, no other thread can open the file for modification until the transaction is committed. So if a transacted thread opens the file first, any subsequent threads that try modifying the file before the transaction is committed receives a sharing violation. If a non-transacted thread modifies the file before the transacted thread does, and the file is still open when the transaction attempts to open it, the transaction receives the error ERROR_TRANSACTIONAL_CONFLICT.


For an example, see Retrieving and Changing File Attributes.


Minimum supported client

Windows XP [desktop apps only]

Minimum supported server

Windows Server 2003 [desktop apps only]


FileAPI.h (include Windows.h);
WinBase.h on Windows Server 2008 R2, Windows 7, Windows Server 2008, Windows Vista, Windows Server 2003 and Windows XP (include Windows.h)





Unicode and ANSI names

GetFileAttributesW (Unicode) and GetFileAttributesA (ANSI)

See also

File Attribute Constants
File Management Functions
Symbolic Links