Directory.GetDirectories Method (String)


Returns the names of subdirectories (including their paths) in the specified directory.

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

public static string[] GetDirectories(
	string path


Type: System.String

The relative or absolute path to the directory to search. This string is not case-sensitive.

Return Value

Type: System.String[]

An array of the full names (including paths) of subdirectories in the specified path, or an empty array if no directories are found.

Exception Condition

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 is a file name.


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

This method is identical to GetDirectories(String, String) with the asterisk (*) specified as the search pattern, so it returns all subdirectories.If you need to search subdirectories, use the GetDirectories(String, String, SearchOption) method, which enables you to specify a search of subdirectories with the searchOption parameter.

The EnumerateDirectories and GetDirectories methods differ as follows: When you use EnumerateDirectories, you can start enumerating the collection of names before the whole collection is returned; when you use GetDirectories, you must wait for the whole array of names to be returned before you can access the array. Therefore, when you are working with many files and directories, EnumerateDirectories can be more efficient.

The path parameter can 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.

The names returned by this method are prefixed with the directory information provided in path.

The path parameter is not case-sensitive.

For a list of common I/O tasks, see Common I/O Tasks.

The following example takes an array of file or directory names on the command line, determines what kind of name it is, and processes it appropriately.

// For Directory.GetFiles and Directory.GetDirectories
// For File.Exists, Directory.Exists
using System;
using System.IO;
using System.Collections;

public class RecursiveFileProcessor 
    public static void Main(string[] args) 
        foreach(string path in args) 
                // This path is a file
            else if(Directory.Exists(path)) 
                // This path is a directory
                Console.WriteLine("{0} is not a valid file or directory.", path);

    // Process all files in the directory passed in, recurse on any directories 
    // that are found, and process the files they contain.
    public static void ProcessDirectory(string targetDirectory) 
        // Process the list of files found in the directory.
        string [] fileEntries = Directory.GetFiles(targetDirectory);
        foreach(string fileName in fileEntries)

        // Recurse into subdirectories of this directory.
        string [] subdirectoryEntries = Directory.GetDirectories(targetDirectory);
        foreach(string subdirectory in subdirectoryEntries)

    // Insert logic for processing found files here.
    public static void ProcessFile(string path) 
        Console.WriteLine("Processed file '{0}'.", path);	    

for accessing path information for the current directory. Associated enumeration: FileIOPermissionAccess.PathDiscovery

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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