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ADSdotNET: A DLL for Using Alternate Data Streams from .NET Languages

, 24 Apr 2011 CPOL
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With this class, you can use ADS with C#, VB.NET, and other .NET languages without P/Invoke

Introduction

ADSdotNET is a library which makes it possible for .NET-based programming languages like C# or Visual Basic .NET to access alternate data streams (ADS). Without this DLL, it would be necessary to use P/Invoke or C++/CLI to work with ADS and to benefit from .NET-based languages at the same time.

ADSdotNET was developed in C++/CLI by the way. The zip file adsdotnet-0.2-src.zip contains a Visual Studio 2005 project. The other zip files (adsdotnet-0.2-bin-x86.zip and adsdotnet-0.2-bin-x64.zip) contain the compiled DLL only.

Background

When I tried to access ADS from my C# code, I found out that the .NET framework currently does not support file streams. So I decided to write a class which I could use for my C# project. I decided to use C++/CLI for writing ADSdotNET because in my opinion using this language for accessing the Windows API is more "natural" than using P/Invoke.

Using the Code

After including the DLL as reference in your Visual Studio project (you can do that in the Solution Explorer), you can see a new entry inside the folder References named ADSdotNET.

From now on, you can use a new namespace called AdsDotNet. It contains the class AdsHandler. First of all, you have to create an object of this class. Every object of type AdsHandler points to one file or directory. The methods of these objects can be used for adding/deleting/modifying the alternate data streams of the corresponding file or directory (will be called “root object” in the future). To root objects, alternate data streams can be attached.

Now I will describe the methods of the class AdsHandler. Examples will help to understand the usage (I hope).

Overview of all AdsHandler methods:

Constructor

Creates a new object of type AdsHandler which represents a file or a folder on which the ADS operations can be executed.

C++/CLI declaration

AdsHandler(String ^filename);

Parameter

filename: Name of an existing file or folder (= name of the root object)

Example 1

AdsManager adsman = new AdsManager("C:\\texts\\textfile.txt"); 

Example 2

AdsManager adsman = new AdsManager("C:\\texts"); 

Note

By passing an empty string - new AdsManager(""); - a CommandNotAllowedException will be thrown. If the root object does not exist, a FileNotFoundException will be thrown.

AddAds

Adds an empty ADS to the root object.

C++/CLI declaration

void AddAds(String ^adsname);

Parameter

adsname: The name of the ADS which should be created.

Example

adsman.AddAds("my_stream"); 

Note

By passing an empty string - adsman.AddAds(""); – a CommandNotAllowedException will be thrown. If an ADS with the same name already exists, nothing happens.

DeleteAds

Removes (deletes) an ADS from the root object.

C++/CLI declaration

void DeleteAds(String ^adsname);

Parameter

adsname: The name of the ADS which should be deleted.

Example

adsman.AddAds("my_stream"); 

Note

By passing an empty string - adsman.AddAds(""); - the root object and all its ADS will be deleted if the root object was a file. Otherwise a WinAPIException will be thrown.

AdsExists

Returns true if a certain ADS exists, false otherwise.

C++/CLI declaration

bool AdsExists(String ^adsname);

Parameter

adsname: The existence of an ADS with this name will be checked.

Example

if(adsman.AdsExists("stream334")) { ... } 

Note

By passing an empty string - adsman.AdsExists(""); -, the method checks the existence of the root object.

GetAdsList

Returns a list of names of all ADS attached to the root object.

C++/CLI declaration

System::Collections::Generic::List<System::String^> ^GetAdsList(); 

Example

List<String> adslist = adsman.GetAdsList();
OpenAds

Opens an ADS for reading/writing. A FileStream object will be returned so that you can work with ADS in the same manner as you can work with normal files.

C++/CLI declaration

System::IO::FileStream ^OpenAds(String ^adsname);

Parameter

adsname: Name of the ADS which should be opened.

Example

AdsHandler adsman_folder = new AdsHandler("testfolder");
adsman_folder.AddAds("asd");
System.IO.FileStream fs = adsman_folder.OpenAds("asd");
System.IO.StreamWriter sw = new System.IO.StreamWriter(fs);
sw.WriteLine("Hello ADS!");
sw.Close();
adsman_folder.CloseAds("asd");

Note

If the stream does not exist, a StreamNotFoundException will be thrown. By passing an empty string, a FileStream which points to the root file will be returned. If the root object is not a file, a WinAPIException will be thrown. The FileStream will be closed inside the method CloseAds. So you do not have to call fs.Close().

AdsIsOpen

Returns true if an ADS with the name specified is opened at the moment, false otherwise. The stream must have been opened with the method OpenAds. So AdsIsOpened only returns true between the calls OpenAds and CloseAds (even if the FileStream was closed manually with fs.Close() before calling the method CloseAds).

C++/CLI declaration

bool AdsIsOpened(String ^adsname);

Parameter

adsname: A stream name.

Example

if (adsman_folder.AdsIsOpened("stream")) { ... }
CloseAds

Closes an ADS which was opened by OpenAds before. The FileStream which was provided by OpenAds will be closed by calling this method.

C++/CLI declaration

void CloseAds(String ^adsname);

Parameter

adsname: The name of an open ADS.

Example

(see OpenAds)

GetCompleteFilename

Builds a name like X:\path\file.txt:streamname or X:\path:streamname out of the filename and a stream name.

C++/CLI declaration

System::String ^GetCompleteFilename(String ^adsname);

Parameter

adsname: A name which should be used as stream name.

Example

string filename = adsman.GetCompleteFilename("stream"); 

Note

A stream with the name specified does not have to exist.

More Resources

At http://www.mickbitsoftware.com/de/adsdotnet, you can download a PDF file which contains the German version of the text you can read above.

AdsManager is an application written in C# which uses ADSdotNET. You can download the binary from http://www.mickbitsoftware.com/en/adsmanager. Currently, I do not provide the source code of AdsManager.

License

This article, along with any associated source code and files, is licensed under The Code Project Open License (CPOL)

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About the Author

Michael Geier

Austria Austria
No Biography provided

Comments and Discussions

 
Generala little help needed ;) Pinmemberh4ppyf4ce11-Aug-10 8:13 
GeneralRe: a little help needed ;) Pinmembermimao12-Aug-10 12:36 
GeneralPlz simple sample code Pinmembermoris200069-Jun-09 20:25 
AnswerRe: Plz simple sample code [modified] PinmemberMichael Geier9-Jun-09 23:34 
GeneralAlternatively... PinmemberRichard Deeming18-Dec-08 10:40 

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