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Recursive Directory Watch

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25 Nov 20022 min read 98.6K   2.8K   27   6
A simple filewatcher based using XML and treeview control

Sample Image - filesentry.jpg


FileSentry is a simple directory watcher. It will traverse a directory recursively, and build an XML document representing the directory structure. This XML document can be persisted to local storage and used for later comparison with the directory. Upon comparison, a TreeNodeView control will be populated and new items checked. This makes it easy to see which files have been added since the last time the XML was gotten.


I have my media library set up as a Linux Samba share and for some reason, FileSystemWatcher events aren't triggered for these type of drives. I needed something that could quickly show any updates to the directory, obviously not having to browse through all the directories.

Using the Code

There are two main methods, indexDirectories and populateTree. The first method will recurse the given path and build an XML document like this, and store it in a private variable.


indexDirectories will call addDirectory which in turn will call addFile for each item in the directory if the item is a file, and addDirectory for each directory item.

// add directory to xml doc
private void indexDirectories(string path)
	DirectoryInfo dir = new DirectoryInfo(path); 
	XmlNode node = xmlDoc.CreateElement("directories");

// add file to xml directory
private void addFile(XmlNode xmlParent, DirectoryInfo dir)
	foreach(FileInfo theFile in dir.GetFiles("*.*"))
		XmlNode filmTitel = xmlDoc.CreateElement("filename");
		filmTitel.InnerText = theFile.Name; 

After that, the populateTree method is called which takes an XML document as parameter, against which the recently built XML will be compared and populates the TreeView control. The populateTree method in turn will call addDirectoryTreeNode to help with the recursive populating of the TreeNodeView.

// add a new node for each directory to the treeview
private void addDirectoryTreeNode(XmlNode xmlNode, TreeNode parentNode)
	foreach(XmlNode xmlSubDir in xmlNode.SelectNodes("directory") )
		TreeNode parent = new TreeNode(xmlSubDir.SelectSingleNode("title").InnerText);
	foreach(XmlNode xmlSubFile in xmlNode.SelectNodes("filename"))
		TreeNode file = new TreeNode(xmlSubFile.InnerText);

The recursive calls are all pretty straight forward, and shouldn't cause any problems.

There are, as you can see, some parameters that are hard-coded which obviously shouldn't be the case in an "real" application. Bear with me on these as this is just a demo. Other quirks and peculiarities are all copyright of the author ;).


  • 19th November, 2002: Released to


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.

Written By
Web Developer
Sweden Sweden
A seasoned COM/ATL developer, recently being hurled head first into his first .Net project, that loves scuba diving and music.

Comments and Discussions

GeneralWhy the FileSystemWatcher doesn't work Pin
Heath Stewart12-Aug-03 8:01
protectorHeath Stewart12-Aug-03 8:01 
QuestionBlurring? Pin
Phil Wright27-Nov-02 0:46
Phil Wright27-Nov-02 0:46 
AnswerRe: Blurring? Pin
Daniel Ripoll27-Nov-02 2:18
Daniel Ripoll27-Nov-02 2:18 
GeneralRe: Blurring? Pin
Anthony_Yio2-Jun-03 18:16
Anthony_Yio2-Jun-03 18:16 
GeneralRe: Blurring? Pin
Igor Sukhov2-May-06 22:21
Igor Sukhov2-May-06 22:21 
Question"VC7"? Pin
Uwe Keim26-Nov-02 21:03
sitebuilderUwe Keim26-Nov-02 21:03 

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