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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

AnswerRe: Why this way? Pin
GriffonRL19-Nov-02 22:35
memberGriffonRL19-Nov-02 22:35 
GeneralRe: Why this way? Pin
Mustafa Demirhan20-Nov-02 1:18
memberMustafa Demirhan20-Nov-02 1:18 
GeneralRe: Why this way? Pin
GriffonRL20-Nov-02 2:24
memberGriffonRL20-Nov-02 2:24 
GeneralRe: Why this way? Pin
BarryJ21-Nov-02 6:09
memberBarryJ21-Nov-02 6:09 
GeneralRe: Why this way? Pin
GriffonRL21-Nov-02 6:45
memberGriffonRL21-Nov-02 6:45 
GeneralGreat article... Pin
David Stone19-Nov-02 6:13
memberDavid Stone19-Nov-02 6:13 
GeneralRe: Great article... Pin
GriffonRL19-Nov-02 6:42
memberGriffonRL19-Nov-02 6:42 
GeneralRe: Great article... Pin
David Stone19-Nov-02 16:32
memberDavid Stone19-Nov-02 16:32 
GriffonRL wrote:
That's because I catch the exceptions in the static function, the calling method never gets the info. So that's why I return a boolean.

You can still throw an Exception back up the call stack. All that you have to do is:
{//Insert code here}
catch(Exception ex)
{throw ex;}

That'll throw the Exception back up the call stack to the caller of the function.

In fact...*Brilliant thought comes to David*

Why don't you do some extra work in the catch block...before you throw the exception back up the stack. One thing that I hate is when Windows starts copying a directory and then one file can't be moved, so I have a partial directory...So why don't you delete the destination files and folder if an error happened. That way it's all or nothing. I know a lot of other people who hate this you may want to look into implementing that.

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GeneralRe: Great article... Pin
Mustafa Demirhan19-Nov-02 16:51
memberMustafa Demirhan19-Nov-02 16:51 
GeneralRe: Great article... Pin
GriffonRL19-Nov-02 22:21
memberGriffonRL19-Nov-02 22:21 
GeneralRe: Great article... Pin
David Stone20-Nov-02 12:08
memberDavid Stone20-Nov-02 12:08 
GeneralRe: Great article... Pin
Anonymous20-Nov-02 22:42
sussAnonymous20-Nov-02 22:42 
GeneralRe: Great article... Pin
David Stone21-Nov-02 14:32
memberDavid Stone21-Nov-02 14:32 
GeneralRe: Great article... Pin
jalbitz12-Nov-03 9:11
memberjalbitz12-Nov-03 9:11 

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