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DirectoryInfo.GetDirectories Method (String, SearchOption)

Note: This method is new in the .NET Framework version 2.0.

Returns an array of directories in the current DirectoryInfo matching the given search criteria and using a value to determine whether to search subdirectories.

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

public DirectoryInfo[] GetDirectories (
	string searchPattern,
	SearchOption searchOption
public DirectoryInfo[] GetDirectories (
	String searchPattern, 
	SearchOption searchOption
public function GetDirectories (
	searchPattern : String, 
	searchOption : SearchOption
) : DirectoryInfo[]



The search string, such as "System*", used to search for all directories beginning with the word "System".


One of the values of the SearchOption enumeration that specifies whether the search operation should include only the current directory or should include all subdirectories.

Return Value

An array of type DirectoryInfo matching searchPattern.

Exception typeCondition


searchPattern is a null reference (Nothing in Visual Basic).


The path encapsulated in the DirectoryInfo object is invalid, such as being on an unmapped drive.


The caller does not have the required permission.

Wildcards are permitted. For example, the searchPattern string "*t" searches for all directory names in path ending with the letter "t". The searchPattern string "s*" searches for all directory names in path beginning with the letter "s".

The string ".." can only be used in searchPattern if it is specified as a part of a valid directory name, such as in the directory name "a..b". It cannot be used to move up the directory hierarchy.

If there are no subdirectories, or no subdirectories are found that match searchPattern, this method returns only the root directory.

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.

How to: Write Text to a File

Write to a text file.

How to: Write Text to a File

Read from a text file.

How to: Read Text from a File

Rename or move a directory.



Delete a directory.



Create a directory.



Create a subdirectory.


See the files in a directory.


See all the files and all the subdirectories in a directory.


Find the size of a directory.


Determine if a file exists.


Determine if a directory exists.


The following code example lists all of the directories and files that begin with the letter "c" in "c:\".

using System;
using System.IO;

class App
    public static void Main()
        // Specify the directory you want to manipulate.
        string path = @"c:\";
        string searchPattern = "c*";

        DirectoryInfo di = new DirectoryInfo(path);
        DirectoryInfo[] directories = 
            di.GetDirectories(searchPattern, SearchOption.TopDirectoryOnly);

        FileInfo[] files = 
            di.GetFiles(searchPattern, SearchOption.TopDirectoryOnly);

            "Directories that begin with the letter \"c\" in {0}", path);
        foreach (DirectoryInfo dir in directories)
                "{0,-25} {1,25}", dir.FullName, dir.LastWriteTime);

            "Files that begin with the letter \"c\" in {0}", path);
        foreach (FileInfo file in files)
                "{0,-25} {1,25}", file.Name, file.LastWriteTime);
    } // Main()
} // App()

Windows 98, Windows 2000 SP4, Windows Millennium Edition, Windows Server 2003, Windows XP Media Center Edition, Windows XP Professional x64 Edition, Windows XP SP2, Windows XP Starter Edition

The .NET Framework does not support all versions of every platform. For a list of the supported versions, see System Requirements.

.NET Framework

Supported in: 2.0