Directory.Delete Method (String, Boolean)


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Deletes the specified directory and, if indicated, any subdirectories and files in the directory.

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

public static void Delete(
	string path,
	bool recursive


Type: System.String

The name of the directory to remove.

Type: System.Boolean

true to remove directories, subdirectories, and files in path; otherwise, false.

Exception Condition

A file with the same name and location specified by path exists.


The directory specified by path is read-only, or recursive is false and path is not an empty directory.


The directory is the application's current working directory.


The directory contains a read-only file.


The directory is being used by another process.


The caller does not have the required permission.


path is a zero-length string, contains only white space, or contains one or more invalid characters. You can query for invalid characters by using the GetInvalidPathChars method.


path is null.


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.


path does not exist or could not be found.


The specified path is invalid (for example, it is on an unmapped drive).

The path parameter may 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.

Trailing spaces are removed from the end of the path parameter before deleting the directory.

The path parameter is not case-sensitive.

If the recursive parameter is true, the user must have write permission for the current directory as well as for all subdirectories.

The behavior of this method differs slightly when deleting a directory that contains a reparse point, such as a symbolic link or a mount point. If the reparse point is a directory, such as a mount point, it is unmounted and the mount point is deleted. This method does not recurse through the reparse point. If the reparse point is a symbolic link to a file, the reparse point is deleted and not the target of the symbolic link.

In some cases, if you have the specified directory open in File Explorer, the Delete method may not be able to delete it.

The following example shows how to create a new directory, subdirectory, and file in the subdirectory, and then recursively delete all the new items.

using System;
using System.IO;

namespace ConsoleApplication
    class Program
        static void Main(string[] args)
            string topPath = @"C:\NewDirectory";
            string subPath = @"C:\NewDirectory\NewSubDirectory";


                using (StreamWriter writer = File.CreateText(subPath + @"\example.txt"))
                    writer.WriteLine("content added");

                Directory.Delete(topPath, true);

                bool directoryExists = Directory.Exists(topPath);

                Console.WriteLine("top-level directory exists: " + directoryExists);
            catch (Exception e)
                Console.WriteLine("The process failed: {0}", e.Message);


for writing to the specified directory. Associated enumeration: FileIOPermissionAccess.Write

Universal Windows Platform
Available since 10
.NET Framework
Available since 1.1
Available since 2.0
Windows Phone Silverlight
Available since 7.0
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