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IShellFolder::ParseDisplayName method

Translates the display name of a file object or a folder into an item identifier list.


HRESULT ParseDisplayName(
  [in]      HWND             hwnd,
  [in]      IBindCtx         *pbc,
  [in]      LPWSTR           pszDisplayName,
  [out]     ULONG            *pchEaten,
  [out]     PIDLIST_RELATIVE *ppidl,
  [in, out] ULONG            *pdwAttributes


hwnd [in]

Type: HWND

A window handle. The client should provide a window handle if it displays a dialog or message box. Otherwise set hwnd to NULL.

pbc [in]

Type: IBindCtx*

Optional. A pointer to a bind context used to pass parameters as inputs and outputs to the parsing function. These passed parameters are often specific to the data source and are documented by the data source owners. For example, the file system data source accepts the name being parsed (as a WIN32_FIND_DATA structure), using the STR_FILE_SYS_BIND_DATA bind context parameter. STR_PARSE_PREFER_FOLDER_BROWSING can be passed to indicate that URLs are parsed using the file system data source when possible. Construct a bind context object using CreateBindCtx and populate the values using IBindCtx::RegisterObjectParam. See Bind Context String Keys for a complete list of these.

If no data is being passed to or received from the parsing function, this value can be NULL.

pszDisplayName [in]


A null-terminated Unicode string with the display name. Because each Shell folder defines its own parsing syntax, the form this string can take may vary. The desktop folder, for instance, accepts paths such as "C:\My Docs\My File.txt". It also will accept references to items in the namespace that have a GUID associated with them using the "::{GUID}" syntax. For example, to retrieve a fully qualified identifier list for the control panel from the desktop folder, you can use the following:

::{CLSID for Control Panel}\::{CLSID for printers folder}

pchEaten [out]

Type: ULONG*

A pointer to a ULONG value that receives the number of characters of the display name that was parsed. If your application does not need this information, set pchEaten to NULL, and no value will be returned.

ppidl [out]


When this method returns, contains a pointer to the PIDL for the object. The returned item identifier list specifies the item relative to the parsing folder. If the object associated with pszDisplayName is within the parsing folder, the returned item identifier list will contain only one SHITEMID structure. If the object is in a subfolder of the parsing folder, the returned item identifier list will contain multiple SHITEMID structures. If an error occurs, NULL is returned in this address.

When it is no longer needed, it is the responsibility of the caller to free this resource by calling CoTaskMemFree.

pdwAttributes [in, out]

Type: ULONG*

The value used to query for file attributes. If not used, it should be set to NULL. To query for one or more attributes, initialize this parameter with the SFGAO flags that represent the attributes of interest. On return, those attributes that are true and were requested will be set.

Return value


If this method succeeds, it returns S_OK. Otherwise, it returns an HRESULT error code.


Some Shell folders may not implement IShellFolder::ParseDisplayName. Each folder that does will define its own parsing syntax.

ParseDisplayName is not expected to handle the relative path or parent folder indicators (".\" or "..\"). It is up to the caller to remove these appropriately.

Do not use the SFGAO_VALIDATE flag in pdwAttributes to verify the existence of the item whose name is being parsed. IShellFolder::ParseDisplayName implicitly validates the existence of the item unless that behavior is overridden by a special bind context parameter.

Querying for some attributes may be relatively slow and use significant amounts of memory. For example, to determine if a file is shared, the Shell will load network components. This procedure may require the loading of several DLLs. The purpose of pdwAttributes is to allow you to restrict the query to only that information that is needed. The following code fragment illustrates how to find out if a file is compressed.

ULONG cbEaten;

hres = psf->ParseDisplayName(NULL,
                             &cbEaten,  // This can be NULL

if(dwAttribs & SFGAO_COMPRESSED)
    // Do something with the compressed file

Since pdwAttributes is an in/out parameter, it should always be initialized. If you pass in an uninitialized value, some of the bits may be inadvertantly set. IShellFolder::ParseDisplayName will then query for the corresponding attributes, which may lead to undesirable delays or memory demands. If you do not wish to query for attributes, set pdwAttributes to NULL to avoid unpredictable behavior.

This method is similar to the IParseDisplayName::ParseDisplayName method.


Minimum supported client

Windows XP [desktop apps only]

Minimum supported server

Windows 2000 Server [desktop apps only]






Shell32.dll (version 4.0 or later)

See also




Community Additions

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