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Posted 1 Oct 2002

FolderTreeView Control

, 25 Oct 2002
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A simple explorer-like FolderTreeView control for C#

Sample Image


This is an all-new version of the FolderTreeView control I posted here at CodeProject some weeks ago. The control now starts in the Desktop namespace, and a new drilling method has been added so the startup folder can be specified. Please note that this control is not intended to have all of the functionality of the actual Windows Explorer TreeView - it is a light-weight control designed for use in projects where you want to supply a treeview for folder navigation, without supporting windows shell extensions. If you are looking for a control that supports shell extensions you should be looking at the excellent ËxplorerTreeControl submitted by Carlos H Perez here at the CodeProject website.

How it works

After calling the InitFolderTreeView() method, a dummy Desktop not is created as the root node, and then the shell's Desktop namespace is iterated to populate the first level nodes. The child nodes are then iterated, checking only for the presence of sub-child nodes. If sub-child nodes are found, a dummy node is inserted so that the [+] will be displayed for folders that can be expanded. When the BeforeExpand event fires, the folder being expanded is checked for a dummy node. If a dummy is present, it is removed and the node's children are re-populated. If the node's children have already been populated no further action occurs.


The FolderTreeView control is based on 3 classes:

  • FolderTreeView - The FolderTreeView implementation
  • ShellOperations - Supporting Shell Operations
  • ExtractIcons - Shell Icon Extractor
The control naturally derives from the System.Windows.Forms.TreeView, exposing 1 new property, GetSelectedNodePath() which returns the currently selected node's full path. There are 2 new methods: InitFolderTreeView() must be called to populate the TreeView - normally you would call this in your Form's OnLoad event. The 2nd method is DrillToFolder(string folderPath) - this will recurse through the tree looking for the specified folder path, returning a boolean to indicate if the search was sucessful or not.

The method used to retreive the icon for the Desktop root node works fine, but is perhaps not the best way to go about it. This control has NOT been tested in Win9x, NT or 2000 - feedback on these OS's would be much appreciated. Of course if you improve this control I would appreciate the update, and if you have any feedback to offer, please post it below.


Version 1.11:

  • Updated the GetDesktopIcon() method so it returns the shell's small desktop icon rather than the large version
  • Added code so that the Desktop node would return the full desktop folder path
I have now tested the code on Windows Me without problem - feeback on how it works with other OS's would be appreciated!


This article has no explicit license attached to it but may contain usage terms in the article text or the download files themselves. If in doubt please contact the author via the discussion board below.

A list of licenses authors might use can be found here


About the Author

Web Developer
Thailand Thailand
Furty will code for food.

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Comments and Discussions

GeneralFile Names Pin
jpadova19-Feb-04 8:07
memberjpadova19-Feb-04 8:07 
GeneralRe: File Names Pin
IndyJason792-Jan-05 19:02
memberIndyJason792-Jan-05 19:02 
GeneralTreeViewCancelEventHandler behavior Pin
Marc Clifton17-Aug-03 16:16
editorMarc Clifton17-Aug-03 16:16 
GeneralRe: TreeViewCancelEventHandler behavior Pin
Furty17-Aug-03 19:47
memberFurty17-Aug-03 19:47 
GeneralRe: TreeViewCancelEventHandler behavior Pin
Marc Clifton18-Aug-03 3:26
editorMarc Clifton18-Aug-03 3:26 
GeneralRe: TreeViewCancelEventHandler behavior Pin
John McPherson26-Aug-03 17:17
memberJohn McPherson26-Aug-03 17:17 
GeneralPerformance and Shell32.dll questions Pin
Marc Clifton3-Aug-03 8:32
editorMarc Clifton3-Aug-03 8:32 
GeneralRe: Performance and Shell32.dll questions Pin
Furty3-Aug-03 15:46
memberFurty3-Aug-03 15:46 
Hi Marc, the 3 major performance limitations of this code are:

1) Heavy use of interop
2) On loading, it scans CD/DVD drives to check for root folders
3) Heavy use of interop

I have made some substantial improvements to this code since it was published here, but I just haven't the time to update the article - you'd as good as anyone how much time it takes to write an article for CP.. Frown | :( I hope to get around to it within the next few weeks, but can't make any promises.

On the subject of shell32.dll binding, I don't quite follow - AFAIK the generated Interop.Shell32.dll should not be dependant on any particular Shell32 version, and my code doesn't call any Shell32 methods that don't exist in early versions. Basically, if the system can run .Net it should be able to run this code as is - have you found otherwise?

GeneralRe: Performance and Shell32.dll questions Pin
Furty3-Aug-03 17:29
memberFurty3-Aug-03 17:29 
GeneralRe: Performance and Shell32.dll questions Pin
Marc Clifton9-Aug-03 12:16
editorMarc Clifton9-Aug-03 12:16 
GeneralRe: Performance and Shell32.dll questions Pin
Spunk15-Sep-03 6:17
memberSpunk15-Sep-03 6:17 
GeneralRe: Performance and Shell32.dll questions Pin
Daniël Pelsmaeker21-Sep-03 0:55
memberDaniël Pelsmaeker21-Sep-03 0:55 
GeneralRe: Performance and Shell32.dll questions Pin
jgauthier23-Sep-03 11:04
memberjgauthier23-Sep-03 11:04 
GeneralRe: Performance and Shell32.dll questions Pin
Daniël Pelsmaeker23-Sep-03 11:17
memberDaniël Pelsmaeker23-Sep-03 11:17 
GeneralRe: Performance and Shell32.dll questions Pin
IndyJason791-Jan-05 22:46
memberIndyJason791-Jan-05 22:46 
GeneralDesign View Pin
JPark31-Jul-03 23:12
memberJPark31-Jul-03 23:12 
GeneralMistakes in: Getting the FolderItem... Pin
ittay ophir22-Jul-03 4:43
memberittay ophir22-Jul-03 4:43 
GeneralGetting the FolderItem Object From the Folder Interface Pin
ittay ophir21-Jul-03 1:38
memberittay ophir21-Jul-03 1:38 
GeneralRe: Getting the FolderItem Object From the Folder Interface Pin
Furty21-Jul-03 12:02
memberFurty21-Jul-03 12:02 
GeneralFolderTreeView lists the zip-files on my desktop Pin
Terje Krång10-Jun-03 4:54
memberTerje Krång10-Jun-03 4:54 
GeneralRe: FolderTreeView lists the zip-files on my desktop Pin
Whosit29-Aug-03 8:35
memberWhosit29-Aug-03 8:35 
GeneralRe: FolderTreeView lists the zip-files on my desktop Pin
Furty29-Aug-03 13:01
memberFurty29-Aug-03 13:01 
GeneralHi Furty Pin
cuteo20009-May-03 14:36
membercuteo20009-May-03 14:36 
GeneralRe: Hi Furty Pin
Spunk8-Jul-03 14:09
memberSpunk8-Jul-03 14:09 
GeneralRe: Hi Furty Pin
tunt5-Nov-03 17:47
membertunt5-Nov-03 17:47 

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