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Check if a string is a valid Windows directory (folder) path

Posted by: admin November 30, 2017 Leave a comment

Questions:

I am trying to determine whether a string input by a user is valid for representing a path to a folder. By valid, I mean formatted properly.

In my application, the folder represents an installation destination. Provided that the folder path is valid, I want to determine if the folder exists, and create it if it does not.

I am currently using IO.Directory.Exists( String path ). I find that this works fine except when the user does not format the string properly. When that happens, this method will return false which indicates that the folder does not exist. But this is a problem because I won’t be able to create the folder afterwards.

From my googling I found a suggestion to use a regular expression to check if the format is proper. I have no experience with regular expressions, and am wondering if that is a viable approach. Here’s what I found:

Regex r = new Regex( @"^(([a-zA-Z]\:)|(\))(\{1}|((\{1})[^\]([^/:*?<>""|]*))+)$" );
return r.IsMatch( path );

Would a regular expression test in combination with Directory.Exists(), give me a good enough method to check if the path is valid and whether it exists? I know this will vary with the OS and other factors, but the program is targeted for Windows users only.

Answers:

Call Path.GetFullPath; it will throw exceptions if the path is invalid.

To disallow relative paths (such as Word), call Path.IsPathRooted.

Questions:
Answers:

I actually disagree with SLaks. That solution did not work for me. Exception did not happen as expected. But this code worked for me:

if(System.IO.Directory.Exists(path))
{
    ...
}

Questions:
Answers:

Path.GetFullPath gives below exceptions only

ArgumentException path is a zero-length string, contains only white
space, or contains one or more of the invalid characters defined in
GetInvalidPathChars.
-or- The system could not retrieve the absolute path.

SecurityException The caller does not have the required permissions.

ArgumentNullException path is null.

NotSupportedException path contains a colon (“:”) that is not part of
a volume identifier (for example, “c:\”).

PathTooLongException The specified path, file name, or both exceed
the system-defined maximum length. For example, on Windows-based
platforms, paths must be less than 248 characters, and file names must
be less than 260 characters.

Alternate way is to use the following :

/// <summary>
/// Validate the Path. If path is relative append the path to the project directory by default.
/// </summary>
/// <param name="path">Path to validate</param>
/// <param name="RelativePath">Relative path</param>
/// <param name="Extension">If want to check for File Path</param>
/// <returns></returns>
private static bool ValidateDllPath(ref string path, string RelativePath = "", string Extension = "")
{
    // Check if it contains any Invalid Characters.
    if (path.IndexOfAny(Path.GetInvalidPathChars()) == -1)
    {
        try
        {
            // If path is relative take %IGXLROOT% as the base directory
            if (!Path.IsPathRooted(path))
            {
                if (string.IsNullOrEmpty(RelativePath))
                {
                    // Exceptions handled by Path.GetFullPath
                    // ArgumentException path is a zero-length string, contains only white space, or contains one or more of the invalid characters defined in GetInvalidPathChars. -or- The system could not retrieve the absolute path.
                    // 
                    // SecurityException The caller does not have the required permissions.
                    // 
                    // ArgumentNullException path is null.
                    // 
                    // NotSupportedException path contains a colon (":") that is not part of a volume identifier (for example, "c:\"). 
                    // PathTooLongException The specified path, file name, or both exceed the system-defined maximum length. For example, on Windows-based platforms, paths must be less than 248 characters, and file names must be less than 260 characters.

                    // RelativePath is not passed so we would take the project path 
                    path = Path.GetFullPath(RelativePath);

                }
                else
                {
                    // Make sure the path is relative to the RelativePath and not our project directory
                    path = Path.Combine(RelativePath, path);
                }
            }

            // Exceptions from FileInfo Constructor:
            //   System.ArgumentNullException:
            //     fileName is null.
            //
            //   System.Security.SecurityException:
            //     The caller does not have the required permission.
            //
            //   System.ArgumentException:
            //     The file name is empty, contains only white spaces, or contains invalid characters.
            //
            //   System.IO.PathTooLongException:
            //     The specified path, file name, or both exceed the system-defined maximum
            //     length. For example, on Windows-based platforms, paths must be less than
            //     248 characters, and file names must be less than 260 characters.
            //
            //   System.NotSupportedException:
            //     fileName contains a colon (:) in the middle of the string.
            FileInfo fileInfo = new FileInfo(path);

            // Exceptions using FileInfo.Length:
            //   System.IO.IOException:
            //     System.IO.FileSystemInfo.Refresh() cannot update the state of the file or
            //     directory.
            //
            //   System.IO.FileNotFoundException:
            //     The file does not exist.-or- The Length property is called for a directory.
            bool throwEx = fileInfo.Length == -1;

            // Exceptions using FileInfo.IsReadOnly:
            //   System.UnauthorizedAccessException:
            //     Access to fileName is denied.
            //     The file described by the current System.IO.FileInfo object is read-only.-or-
            //     This operation is not supported on the current platform.-or- The caller does
            //     not have the required permission.
            throwEx = fileInfo.IsReadOnly;

            if (!string.IsNullOrEmpty(Extension))
            {
                // Validate the Extension of the file.
                if (Path.GetExtension(path).Equals(Extension, StringComparison.InvariantCultureIgnoreCase))
                {
                    // Trim the Library Path
                    path = path.Trim();
                    return true;
                }
                else
                {
                    return false;
                }
            }
            else
            {
                return true;

            }
        }
        catch (ArgumentNullException)
        {
            //   System.ArgumentNullException:
            //     fileName is null.
        }
        catch (System.Security.SecurityException)
        {
            //   System.Security.SecurityException:
            //     The caller does not have the required permission.
        }
        catch (ArgumentException)
        {
            //   System.ArgumentException:
            //     The file name is empty, contains only white spaces, or contains invalid characters.
        }
        catch (UnauthorizedAccessException)
        {
            //   System.UnauthorizedAccessException:
            //     Access to fileName is denied.
        }
        catch (PathTooLongException)
        {
            //   System.IO.PathTooLongException:
            //     The specified path, file name, or both exceed the system-defined maximum
            //     length. For example, on Windows-based platforms, paths must be less than
            //     248 characters, and file names must be less than 260 characters.
        }
        catch (NotSupportedException)
        {
            //   System.NotSupportedException:
            //     fileName contains a colon (:) in the middle of the string.
        }
        catch (FileNotFoundException)
        {
            // System.FileNotFoundException
            //  The exception that is thrown when an attempt to access a file that does not
            //  exist on disk fails.
        }
        catch (IOException)
        {
            //   System.IO.IOException:
            //     An I/O error occurred while opening the file.
        }
        catch (Exception)
        {
            // Unknown Exception. Might be due to wrong case or nulll checks.
        }
    }
    else
    {
        // Path contains invalid characters
    }
    return false;
}

Questions:
Answers:

Use this Code

string DirectoryName = "Sample Name For Directory Or File";
Path.GetInvalidFileNameChars().Where(x => DirectoryName.Contains(x)).Count() > 0 || DirectoryName == "con"

Questions:
Answers:
    private bool IsValidPath(string path)
    {
        Regex driveCheck = new Regex(@"^[a-zA-Z]:\$");
        if (!driveCheck.IsMatch(path.Substring(0, 3))) return false;
        string strTheseAreInvalidFileNameChars = new string(Path.GetInvalidPathChars());
        strTheseAreInvalidFileNameChars += @":/?*" + "\"";
        Regex containsABadCharacter = new Regex("[" + Regex.Escape(strTheseAreInvalidFileNameChars) + "]");
        if (containsABadCharacter.IsMatch(path.Substring(3, path.Length - 3)))
            return false;

        DirectoryInfo dir = new DirectoryInfo(Path.GetFullPath(path));
        if (!dir.Exists)
            dir.Create();
        return true;
    }

Questions:
Answers:

Here is a solution that leverages the use of Path.GetFullPath as recommended in the answer by @SLaks.

In the code that I am including here, note that IsValidPath(string path) is designed such that the caller does not have to worry about exception handling.

You may also find that the method that it calls, TryGetFullPath(...), also has merit on its own when you wish to safely attempt to get an absolute path.

/// <summary>
/// Gets a value that indicates whether <paramref name="path"/>
/// is a valid path.
/// </summary>
/// <returns>Returns <c>true</c> if <paramref name="path"/> is a
/// valid path; <c>false</c> otherwise. Also returns <c>false</c> if
/// the caller does not have the required permissions to access
/// <paramref name="path"/>.
/// </returns>
/// <seealso cref="Path.GetFullPath"/>
/// <seealso cref="TryGetFullPath"/>
public static bool IsValidPath(string path)
{
    string result;
    return TryGetFullPath(path, out result);
}

/// <summary>
/// Returns the absolute path for the specified path string. A return
/// value indicates whether the conversion succeeded.
/// </summary>
/// <param name="path">The file or directory for which to obtain absolute
/// path information.
/// </param>
/// <param name="result">When this method returns, contains the absolute
/// path representation of <paramref name="path"/>, if the conversion
/// succeeded, or <see cref="String.Empty"/> if the conversion failed.
/// The conversion fails if <paramref name="path"/> is null or
/// <see cref="String.Empty"/>, or is not of the correct format. This
/// parameter is passed uninitialized; any value originally supplied
/// in <paramref name="result"/> will be overwritten.
/// </param>
/// <returns><c>true</c> if <paramref name="path"/> was converted
/// to an absolute path successfully; otherwise, false.
/// </returns>
/// <seealso cref="Path.GetFullPath"/>
/// <seealso cref="IsValidPath"/>
public static bool TryGetFullPath(string path, out string result)
{
    result = String.Empty;
    if (String.IsNullOrWhiteSpace(path)) { return false; }
    bool status = false;

    try
    {
        result = Path.GetFullPath(path);
        status = true;
    }
    catch (ArgumentException) { }
    catch (SecurityException) { }
    catch (NotSupportedException) { }
    catch (PathTooLongException) { }

    return status;
}