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Reliable way to convert a file to a byte[]

Posted by: admin November 29, 2017 Leave a comment

Questions:

I found the following code on the web:

private byte [] StreamFile(string filename)
{
   FileStream fs = new FileStream(filename, FileMode.Open,FileAccess.Read);

   // Create a byte array of file stream length
   byte[] ImageData = new byte[fs.Length];

   //Read block of bytes from stream into the byte array
   fs.Read(ImageData,0,System.Convert.ToInt32(fs.Length));

   //Close the File Stream
   fs.Close();
   return ImageData; //return the byte data
}

Is it reliable enough to use to convert a file to byte[] in c#, or is there a better way to do this?

Answers:
byte[] bytes = System.IO.File.ReadAllBytes(filename);

That should do the trick. ReadAllBytes opens the file, reads its contents into a new byte array, then closes it. Here’s the MSDN page for that method.

Questions:
Answers:
byte[] bytes = File.ReadAllBytes(filename) 

or …

var bytes = File.ReadAllBytes(filename) 

Questions:
Answers:

Not to repeat what everyone already have said but keep the following cheat sheet handly for File manipulations:

  1. System.IO.File.ReadAllBytes(filename);
  2. File.Exists(filename)
  3. Path.Combine(folderName, resOfThePath);
  4. Path.GetFullPath(path); // converts a relative path to absolute one
  5. Path.GetExtension(path);
Questions:
Answers:

looks good enough as a generic version. You can modify it to meet your needs, if they’re specific enough.

also test for exceptions and error conditions, such as file doesn’t exist or can’t be read, etc.

you can also do the following to save some space:

 byte[] bytes = System.IO.File.ReadAllBytes(filename);

Questions:
Answers:

Others have noted that you can use the built-in File.ReadAllBytes. The built-in method is fine, but it’s worth noting that the code you post above is fragile for two reasons:

  1. Stream is IDisposable – you should place the FileStream fs = new FileStream(filename, FileMode.Open,FileAccess.Read) initialization in a using clause to ensure the file is closed. Failure to do this may mean that the stream remains open if a failure occurs, which will mean the file remains locked – and that can cause other problems later on.
  2. fs.Read may read fewer bytes than you request. In general, the .Read method of a Stream instance will read at least one byte, but not necessarily all bytes you ask for. You’ll need to write a loop that retries reading until all bytes are read. This page explains this in more detail.
Questions:
Answers:

All these answers with .ReadAllBytes(). Another, similar (I won’t say duplicate, since they were trying to refactor their code) question was asked on SO here: Best way to read a large file into a byte array in C#?

A comment was made on one of the posts regarding .ReadAllBytes():

File.ReadAllBytes throws OutOfMemoryException with big files (tested with 630 MB file 
and it failed) – juanjo.arana Mar 13 '13 at 1:31

A better approach, to me, would be something like this, with BinaryReader:

public static byte[] FileToByteArray(string fileName)
{
    byte[] fileData = null;

    using (FileStream fs = new File.OpenRead(fileName)) 
    { 
        var binaryReader = new BinaryReader(fs); 
        fileData = binaryReader.ReadBytes((int)fs.Length); 
    }
    return fileData;
}

But that’s just me…

Of course, this all assumes you have the memory to handle the byte[] once it is read in, and I didn’t put in the File.Exists check to ensure the file is there before proceeding.