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GetFileAttributesEx function

Retrieves attributes for a specified file or directory.

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


BOOL WINAPI GetFileAttributesEx(
  _In_  LPCTSTR                lpFileName,
  _Out_ LPVOID                 lpFileInformation


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 (GetFileAttributesExW), and prepend "\\?\" to the path. For more information, see Naming a File.

Tip  Starting in Windows 10, version 1607, for the unicode version of this function (GetFileAttributesExW), 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.
fInfoLevelId [in]

A class of attribute information to retrieve.

This parameter can be the following value from the GET_FILEEX_INFO_LEVELS enumeration.


The lpFileInformation parameter is a WIN32_FILE_ATTRIBUTE_DATA structure.


lpFileInformation [out]

A pointer to a buffer that receives the attribute information.

The type of attribute information that is stored into this buffer is determined by the value of fInfoLevelId.

Return value

If the function succeeds, the return value is a nonzero value.

If the function fails, the return value is zero (0). To get extended error information, call GetLastError.


The GetFileAttributes function retrieves file system attribute information. GetFileAttributesEx can obtain other sets of file or directory attribute information. Currently, GetFileAttributesEx retrieves a set of standard attributes that is a superset of the file system attribute information.

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

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.


Minimum supported client

Windows XP [desktop apps | UWP apps]

Minimum supported server

Windows Server 2003 [desktop apps | UWP apps]

Minimum supported phone

Windows Phone 8


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

GetFileAttributesExW (Unicode) and GetFileAttributesExA (ANSI)

See also

File Attribute Constants
File Management Functions
Symbolic Links