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Directory.GetDirectories Method (String, String, SearchOption)

Gets the names of the directories (including their paths) that match the specified search pattern in the current directory, and optionally searches subdirectories.

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

public static string[] GetDirectories(
	string path,
	string searchPattern,
	SearchOption searchOption


Type: System.String
The path to search.
Type: System.String
The search string to match against the names of files in path. The parameter cannot end in two periods ("..") or contain two periods ("..") followed by DirectorySeparatorChar or AltDirectorySeparatorChar, nor can it contain any of the characters in InvalidPathChars.
Type: System.IO.SearchOption
One of the SearchOption values that specifies whether the search operation should include all subdirectories or only the current directory.

Return Value

Type: System.String[]
A String array of directories that match the search pattern.


path is a zero-length string, contains only white space, or contains one or more invalid characters as defined by InvalidPathChars.


searchPattern does not contain a valid pattern.


path or searchPattern is null.


searchOption is not a valid SearchOption value.


The caller does not have the required permission.


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).

The following wildcard specifiers are permitted in the searchPattern parameter.

Wildcard character



Zero or more characters.


Exactly one character.

Characters other than the wildcard specifiers represent themselves. For example, the searchPattern string "*t" searches for all names in the path parameter ending with the letter "t". The searchPattern string "s*" searches for all names in path beginning with the letter "s".

If there are no subdirectories, or no subdirectories match the searchPattern parameter, this method returns an empty array.

The path parameter is permitted to 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 path parameter is not case-sensitive.

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

.NET Framework

Supported in: 4, 3.5, 3.0, 2.0

.NET Framework Client Profile

Supported in: 4, 3.5 SP1

Windows 7, Windows Vista SP1 or later, Windows XP SP3, Windows XP SP2 x64 Edition, Windows Server 2008 (Server Core not supported), Windows Server 2008 R2 (Server Core supported with SP1 or later), Windows Server 2003 SP2

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