In this article we're going to learn how to implement the FileSystemWatcher class using Microsoft Visual Basic.Net. You will need the .NET framework installed, as well as Visual Studio.Net if you want to experiment with the source code presented in this article.
Open Visual Studio .NET and create a new Windows Application Project. Call it WatchFolder and click OK:
Create a user interface as shown in the image below. Add the following controls:
|Control Name||Control Type/Function|
|txt_watchpath||TextBox (for folder path)|
|btn_startwatch||Button (start watching)|
|btn_stop||Button (stop watching)|
|txt_folderactivity||Textbox (folder activity)|
Let's start coding the application. The first thing we need to do is to import the required classes, type the following code before your class declaration:
This shall import the necessary class required for our application we also need to declare a public variable for our FileSystemWatcher class:
Public watchfolder As FileSystemWatcher
Also add the following code to the 'btn_start_click' procedure:
watchfolder = New System.IO.FileSystemWatcher()
'this is the path we want to monitor
watchfolder.Path = txt_watchpath.Text
'Add a list of Filters we want to specify, making sure
'you use OR for each Filter as we need to all of those
watchfolder.NotifyFilter = IO.NotifyFilters.DirectoryName watchfolder.NotifyFilter = watchfolder.NotifyFilter Or _ IO.NotifyFilters.FileName
watchfolder.NotifyFilter = watchfolder.NotifyFilter Or_ IO.NotifyFilters.Attributes
' add the handler to each event
AddHandler watchfolder.Changed, AddressOf logchange
AddHandler watchfolder.Created, AddressOf logchange
AddHandler watchfolder.Deleted, AddressOf logchange
' add the rename handler as the signature is different AddHandler watchfolder.Renamed, AddressOf logrename
'Set this property to true to start watching
watchfolder.EnableRaisingEvents = True
btn_startwatch.Enabled = False
btn_stop.Enabled = True
'End of code for btn_start_click
The NotifyFilter property is used to specify the type of changes you want to watch. You can combine the notify filters to watch for one or more than one type of changes, eg. set the NotifyFilter property to Size if you want to monitor the changes in the file/folder size. Below are the list of notify filters:
|Attributes||The attributes of the file or folder|
|CreationTime||The time the file or folder was created|
|DirectoryName||The name of the directory|
|FileName||The name of the file|
|LastAccess||The date the file or folder was last opened|
|LastWrite||The date the file or folder last had anything written to it|
|Security||The security settings of the file or folder|
|Size||The size of the file or folder|
The default is the bitwise OR combination
of LastWrite, FileName, and DirectoryName.
FileSystemWatcher class raises five events, which are Created, Changed, Deleted, Renamed and Error, but because Created, Changed, and Deleted events share the same event signature we can write just one event handler and we shall write one event handler for Renamed, because their event signatures are different.
Let's type code for handling Created, Changed, and Deleted events raised by the FileSystemWatcher class (Please note you will have to type the event declaration, as this procedure is not generated automatically).
Private Sub logchange(ByVal source As Object,
ByVal e As _ System.IO.FileSystemEventArgs)
If e.ChangeType = IO.WatcherChangeTypes.Changed Then txt_folderactivity.Text &= "File " & e.FullPath & _
" has been modified" & vbCrLf
If e.ChangeType = IO.WatcherChangeTypes.Created Then txt_folderactivity.Text &= "File " & e.FullPath & _
" has been created" & vbCrLf
If e.ChangeType = IO.WatcherChangeTypes.Deleted Then txt_folderactivity.Text &= "File " & e.FullPath & _
" has been deleted" & vbCrLf
This is the code for handling the Renamed event raised by the FileSystemWatcher class:
Public Sub logrename(ByVal source As Object,
ByVal e As _ System.IO.RenamedEventArgs)
txt_folderactivity.Text &= "File" & e.OldName & _
" has been renamed to " & e.Name & vbCrLf
And lastly this is the code for the btn_stop_click, which shall stop the monitor:
' Stop watching the
watchfolder.EnableRaisingEvents = False
btn_startwatch.Enabled = True
btn_stop.Enabled = False
Now it's the time to run the application and see it in action, please build and run the application, type the folder you want to monitor in the text box and click 'Start Watching' to start watching that folder. In the folder you specified, create a file, rename it, update it and delete it to see our application recording those changes.
Use FileSystemWatcher.Filter Property to determine what files should be monitored, eg setting filter property to "*.txt" shall monitor all the files with extension txt, the default is *.* which means all the files with extension, if you want to monitor all the files with and without extension please set the Filter property to "".
FileSystemWatcher can be used watch files on a local computer, a network drive, or a remote computer but it does not raise events for CD. It only works on Windows 2000 and Windows NT 4.0, common file system operations might raise more than one event. For example, when a file is edited or moved, more than one event might be raised. Likewise, some anti-virus or other monitoring applications can cause additional events.
The FileSystemWatcher will not watch the specified folder until the path property has been set and EnableRaisingEvents is set to true.
Set FileSystemWatcher.IncludeSubdirectories Property to true if you want to monitor subdirectories; otherwise, false. The default is false.
FileSystemWatcher.Path property supports Universal Naming Convention (UNC) paths.
If the folder to which the path points is renamed the FileSystemWatcher reattaches itself to the new renamed folder.
Hopefully this article has shown you how simple it is to incorporate the FileSystemWatcher class in your application. Here are few things that you could do with FileSystemWatcher class:
|Jayesh Jain is working as applications consultant
for a health company in Auckland, New Zealand. He has
several years of n-Tier development experience and is
currently working with
Visual Basic.NET to develop interactive client solutions. He has a passion for Web development and in the spare time he likes to write articles. Contact him at: firstname.lastname@example.org