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Posted 18 Nov 2002

Function to copy a directory to another place (nothing fancy)

, 19 Nov 2002
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Simple C#/.NET tip to copy an entire directory tree to another directory


I have been working with the .NET framework for several weeks now and I really enjoy the API. But sometimes I miss some features I need right now, even if I expect the framework to grow and get new classes and capabilities in the forthcoming versions (like Java did).

This article doesn't try to teach something but just gives a solution to anyone who needs it. I tried to keep it simple with few lines of code.

The FileSystem class

This class includes high level functions missing in the standard System.IO namespace. The class provided here only includes a directory to directory copy function for the moment, and the purpose of this article is to fix this .NET missing feature that many VB developers (for example) are used to.

The function takes two absolute paths (source directory and destination directory) as parameters and returns a boolean equal to true when the copy succeeds. Please note that this function automatically overwrites a destination file with the same name. Of course all subdirectories are also copied recursively.

using System;
using System.IO;

namespace Utility.IO{
    /// <summary>
    /// Filesystem
    /// </summary>
    public class FileSystem{
        // Copy directory structure recursively
        public static void copyDirectory(string Src,string Dst){
            String[] Files;

            if(!Directory.Exists(Dst)) Directory.CreateDirectory(Dst);
            foreach(string Element in Files){
                // Sub directories
                // Files in directory


An usage example

Here is an example of how to use the FileSystem class.

// After a successful copy, you can then call 
// Directory.Delete(@"c:\MySrcDirectory") to mimic a Directory.Move behaviour
catch(Exception Ex){


This article is just a tip targeted to beginners or newcomers who noticed this missing feature in the .NET framework. It is provided as a possible solution, but I encourage anyone to write his own function.

Happy Coding !!!


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

Software Developer (Senior) Siliconz Ltd
New Zealand New Zealand
Richard Lopes
Just Programmer

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Comments and Discussions

GeneralVB.NET Version Pin
starlogic8-Feb-04 13:56
memberstarlogic8-Feb-04 13:56 
GeneralRe: VB.NET Version Pin
korcutt27-Apr-06 11:28
memberkorcutt27-Apr-06 11:28 
QuestionHow to determine drive types Pin
liuhoihing17-Nov-03 19:36
memberliuhoihing17-Nov-03 19:36 
AnswerRe: How to determine drive types Pin
chinese_zmm24-Mar-09 23:18
memberchinese_zmm24-Mar-09 23:18 
AnswerRe: How to determine drive types Pin
FrozenHearted25-Mar-09 23:34
memberFrozenHearted25-Mar-09 23:34 
QuestionWhy this way? Pin
Mustafa Demirhan19-Nov-02 15:54
memberMustafa Demirhan19-Nov-02 15:54 
AnswerRe: Why this way? Pin
GriffonRL19-Nov-02 21:35
memberGriffonRL19-Nov-02 21:35 
GeneralRe: Why this way? Pin
Mustafa Demirhan20-Nov-02 0:18
memberMustafa Demirhan20-Nov-02 0:18 
Thanks for the answer.

GriffonRL wrote:
Great question because I saw someone showing this solution in a newsgroup .

Hehe. Believe me this is my own question. I did not see it in a newsgroup Roll eyes | :rolleyes:
I have been using my approach for years and never had a problem yet.

GriffonRL wrote:
- Your code is not 100% .NET compliant.
- Your code is not portable to another framework version (like mono on Linux) because you rely on Windows commands.

Yeah you are right. I never thought that because framework compatibility or OS independency is never an issue for me. I do not care about that :P

GriffonRL wrote:
- No exceptions will be raised in case of an error occurring during the shell copy.

Yes but you will get a return value which indicates if the operation is sucessfull or not. Isn't it good enough? Hmmm. Well in fact not. I admit that C# is a very very nice language and the one who uses C# should use it in C# way, not the old C way. So let me answer my question: NO. Using Exceptions is better. Unsure | :~
Hey, but you can check the value and raise your own exception OMG | :OMG:

GriffonRL wrote:
- You start a new external process.

I really didn't know that. Are you sure about that? Confused | :confused:

PS: One nice thing with using Shell functions is that you can put the files directly to the Recycle Bin (instead of deleting them).

Lastly, let me ask you another question: How is your experience with .NET till now? Is it really more productive than VC++? I love C#; but I do not like the .NET Framework it self and I hate the CLR (or whatever it is, the intermediate compiler thing - the code is not compiled into the native code).
I hope someday, Microsoft will come up with a native C# compiler with a new version of MFC (I dont want any language interoperability. All I want is to use a language like C# not C++ Wink | ;) ).

Mustafa Demirhan
Sonork ID 100.9935:zoltrix

They say I'm lazy but it takes all my time
GeneralRe: Why this way? Pin
GriffonRL20-Nov-02 1:24
memberGriffonRL20-Nov-02 1:24 
GeneralRe: Why this way? Pin
BarryJ21-Nov-02 5:09
memberBarryJ21-Nov-02 5:09 
GeneralRe: Why this way? Pin
GriffonRL21-Nov-02 5:45
memberGriffonRL21-Nov-02 5:45 
GeneralGreat article... Pin
David Stone19-Nov-02 5:13
memberDavid Stone19-Nov-02 5:13 
GeneralRe: Great article... Pin
GriffonRL19-Nov-02 5:42
memberGriffonRL19-Nov-02 5:42 
GeneralRe: Great article... Pin
David Stone19-Nov-02 15:32
memberDavid Stone19-Nov-02 15:32 
GeneralRe: Great article... Pin
Mustafa Demirhan19-Nov-02 15:51
memberMustafa Demirhan19-Nov-02 15:51 
GeneralRe: Great article... Pin
GriffonRL19-Nov-02 21:21
memberGriffonRL19-Nov-02 21:21 
GeneralRe: Great article... Pin
David Stone20-Nov-02 11:08
memberDavid Stone20-Nov-02 11:08 
GeneralRe: Great article... Pin
Anonymous20-Nov-02 21:42
sussAnonymous20-Nov-02 21:42 
GeneralRe: Great article... Pin
David Stone21-Nov-02 13:32
memberDavid Stone21-Nov-02 13:32 
GeneralRe: Great article... Pin
jalbitz12-Nov-03 8:11
memberjalbitz12-Nov-03 8:11 

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