FltCreateFileEx function (fltkernel.h)

Minifilter drivers call FltCreateFileEx to create a new file or open an existing file.


  [in]           PFLT_FILTER        Filter,
  [in, optional] PFLT_INSTANCE      Instance,
  [out]          PHANDLE            FileHandle,
  [out]          PFILE_OBJECT       *FileObject,
  [in]           ACCESS_MASK        DesiredAccess,
  [in]           POBJECT_ATTRIBUTES ObjectAttributes,
  [out]          PIO_STATUS_BLOCK   IoStatusBlock,
  [in, optional] PLARGE_INTEGER     AllocationSize,
  [in]           ULONG              FileAttributes,
  [in]           ULONG              ShareAccess,
  [in]           ULONG              CreateDisposition,
  [in]           ULONG              CreateOptions,
  [in, optional] PVOID              EaBuffer,
  [in]           ULONG              EaLength,
  [in]           ULONG              Flags


[in] Filter

An opaque filter pointer for the caller.

[in, optional] Instance

An opaque instance pointer for the minifilter driver instance that the create request is to be sent to. The instance must be attached to the volume where the file or directory resides. This parameter is optional and can be NULL. If this parameter is NULL, the request is sent to the device object at the top of the file system driver stack for the volume. If it is non-NULL, the request is sent only to minifilter driver instances that are attached below the specified instance.

[out] FileHandle

A pointer to a caller-allocated variable that receives the file handle if the call to FltCreateFileEx is successful.

[out] FileObject

A pointer to a caller-allocated variable that receives the file object pointer if the call to FltCreateFileEx is successful. This parameter is optional and can be NULL.

[in] DesiredAccess

A bitmask of flags specifying the type of access to the file or directory that the caller requires. See the DesiredAccess parameter of IoCreateFileEx for more information about this parameter and for the list of flag values.

[in] ObjectAttributes

Pointer to an opaque OBJECT_ATTRIBUTES structure that is already initialized with InitializeObjectAttributes. See the ObjectAttributes parameter of IoCreateFileEx for more information and for a description of each structure member.

[out] IoStatusBlock

Pointer to an IO_STATUS_BLOCK structure that receives the final completion status and information about the requested operation. See the IoStatusBlock parameter of IoCreateFileEx.

[in, optional] AllocationSize

Optionally specifies the initial allocation size, in bytes, for the file stream. A nonzero value has no effect unless the file is being created, overwritten, or superseded.

[in] FileAttributes

Specifies one or more FILE_ATTRIBUTE_XXX flags, which represent the file attributes to set if you are creating, superseding, or overwriting a file. See the FileAttributes parameter of IoCreateFileEx for more details and for the list of flags.

[in] ShareAccess

Specifies the type of share access to the file that the caller requires, as zero or one, or a combination of the flags. See the ShareAccess parameter of IoCreateFileEx for more details and for the list of flags.

[in] CreateDisposition

Specifies a value that determines the action to be taken, depending on whether the file already exists. See the Disposition parameter of IoCreateFileEx for the list of possible values.

[in] CreateOptions

Specifies the options to be applied when creating or opening the file. This parameter is a compatible combination of the flags listed and described in the CreateOptions parameter of IoCreateFileEx.

[in, optional] EaBuffer

A pointer to a caller-supplied FILE_FULL_EA_INFORMATION-structured buffer containing extended attribute (EA) information to be applied to the file.

[in] EaLength

Length, in bytes, of EaBuffer.

[in] Flags

Specifies options to be used during the creation of the create request. See the Options parameter of IoCreateFileEx for the list of possible options.

Return value

FltCreateFileEx returns STATUS_SUCCESS or an appropriate NTSTATUS value. See the Return Value section of IoCreateFileEx for a list of possible return codes.


FltCreateFileEx might return STATUS_FILE_LOCK_CONFLICT as the return value or in the Status member of the IO_STATUS_BLOCK structure that is pointed to by the IoStatusBlock parameter. This would occur only if the NTFS log file is full, and an error occurs while FltCreateFileEx tries to handle this situation.


File system minifilter drivers should call FltCreateFileEx instead of FltCreateFile to obtain a file object pointer for use with FltXxx I/O routines such as FltReadFile and FltQueryInformationFile.

FltCreateFileEx sends the create request only to the instances attached below the specified minifilter driver instance and to the file system. The specified instance and the instances attached above it do not receive the create request. If no instance is specified, the request goes to the top of the stack and is received by all instances and the file system.

There are two alternate ways to specify the name of the file to be created or opened with FltCreateFileEx:

  • As a fully qualified pathname, supplied in the ObjectName member of the input ObjectAttributes.
  • As a pathname relative to the directory file represented by the handle in the RootDirectory member of the input ObjectAttributes.

Any FileHandle that is obtained from FltCreateFileEx must eventually be released by calling FltClose. In addition, any returned FileObject pointer must be dereferenced when it is no longer needed by calling ObDereferenceObject.

Driver routines that do not run in the system process context must set the OBJ_KERNEL_HANDLE attribute for the ObjectAttributes parameter of FltCreateFileEx. Setting this attribute restricts the use of the handle that is returned by FltCreateFileEx to processes running in kernel mode. Otherwise, the handle can be accessed by the process in whose context the driver is running.


Do not call this routine with a non-NULL top level IRP value, as this can cause a system deadlock.

Certain DesiredAccess flags and combinations of flags have the following effects:

  • For a caller to synchronize an I/O completion by waiting for the returned FileHandle to be set to the Signaled state, the SYNCHRONIZE flag must be set.

  • If only the FILE_APPEND_DATA and SYNCHRONIZE flags are set, the caller can write only to the end of the file, and any offset information about writes to the file is ignored. However, the file is automatically extended as necessary for this type of write operation.

  • Setting the FILE_WRITE_DATA flag for a file also allows writes beyond the end of the file to occur. The file is automatically extended for this type of write, as well.

  • If only the FILE_EXECUTE and SYNCHRONIZE flags are set, the caller cannot use the returned FileHandle to directly read or write any data to or from the file. That is, all operations on the file must use system paging I/O to read or write file data.

The ShareAccess parameter determines whether separate threads can access the same file, possibly simultaneously. If both file openers have the privilege to access a file in the specified manner, the file can be successfully opened and shared. If the original caller of FltCreateFileEx does not specify FILE_SHARE_READ, FILE_SHARE_WRITE, or FILE_SHARE_DELETE, no other open operations can be performed on the file because the original caller is given exclusive access to the file.

For a shared file to be successfully opened, the requested DesiredAccess to the file must be compatible with both the DesiredAccess and ShareAccess specifications of all preceding opens that have not yet been released with FltClose. That is, the DesiredAccess specified to FltCreateFileEx for a given file must not conflict with the accesses that other openers of the file have disallowed.


If IO_IGNORE_SHARE_ACCESS_CHECK is specified in the Flags parameter, the I/O manager ignores the ShareAccess parameter. However, the file system might still perform access checks. Thus, it is important to specify the sharing mode you would like for the ShareAccess parameter, even when using the IO_IGNORE_SHARE_ACCESS_CHECK flag. Additionally, note that when IO_IGNORE_SHARE_ACCESS_CHECK is specified, the file system does not track the current open's desired access or shared access. Because of this, subsequent open calls on the same file may succeed.

The CreateDisposition value FILE_SUPERSEDE requires that the caller have DELETE access to an existing file object. If so, a successful call to FltCreateFileEx with FILE_SUPERSEDE on an existing file effectively deletes that file and then recreates it. This implies that if the file has already been opened by another thread, it opened the file by specifying a ShareAccess parameter with the FILE_SHARE_DELETE flag set. Note that this type of disposition is consistent with the POSIX style of overwriting files.

The CreateDisposition values FILE_OVERWRITE_IF and FILE_SUPERSEDE are similar. If FltCreateFileEx is called with an existing file and either of these CreateDisposition values, the file is replaced.

Overwriting a file is semantically equivalent to a supersede operation, except for the following:

  • The caller must have write access to the file, rather than delete access. This implies that, if the file has already been opened by another thread, it opened the file with the FILE_SHARE_WRITE flag set in the input ShareAccess.

  • The specified file attributes are logically ORed with those already on the file. This implies that if the file has already been opened by another thread, a subsequent caller of FltCreateFileEx cannot disable existing FileAttributes flags but can enable additional flags for the same file. Note that this style of overwriting files is consistent with MS-DOS, Windows 3.1, and OS/2.

The CreateOptions FILE_DIRECTORY_FILE value specifies that the file to be created or opened is a directory file. When a directory file is created, the file system creates an appropriate structure on the disk to represent an empty directory for that particular file system's on-disk structure. If this option was specified and the given file to be opened is not a directory file or if the caller specified an inconsistent CreateOptions or CreateDisposition value, the call to FltCreateFileEx fails.

The CreateOptions FILE_NO_INTERMEDIATE_BUFFERING flag prevents the file system from performing any intermediate buffering on behalf of the caller. Specifying this value places certain restrictions on the caller's parameters to other Flt..File routines or Zw..File routines, including the following:

  • Any byte Offset value passed to FltReadFile, ZwReadFile, FltWriteFile, or ZwWriteFile must be a multiple of the sector size.

  • The Length passed to FltReadFile, ZwReadFile, FltWriteFile, or ZwWriteFile must be a multiple of the sector size. Note that specifying a read operation to a buffer whose length is exactly the sector size might result in fewer significant bytes being transferred to that buffer if the end of the file was reached during the transfer.

  • Buffers must be aligned in accordance with the alignment requirement of the underlying storage device. This information can be obtained by calling FltCreateFileEx to get a handle for the file object that represents the physical device and then calling ZwQueryInformationFile with that handle, specifying FileAlignmentInformation as the FileInformationClass. For more information about the system FILE_XXX_ALIGNMENT values, which are defined in ntifs.h, see DEVICE_OBJECT and Initializing a Device Object.

  • Calls to FltSetInformationFile or ZwSetInformationFile with the FileInformationClass parameter set to FilePositionInformation must specify an offset that is a multiple of the sector size.

The CreateOptions FILE_SYNCHRONOUS_IO_ALERT and FILE_SYNCHRONOUS_IO_NONALERT, which are mutually exclusive as their names suggest, specify that the file is being opened for synchronous I/O. This means that all I/O operations on the file are to be synchronous as long as they occur through the file object that the returned FileHandle refers to. All I/O on such a file is serialized across all threads by using the returned handle. With either of these CreateOptions set, the I/O Manager maintains the current file position offset in the file object's CurrentByteOffset field. This offset can be used in calls to ZwReadFile and ZwWriteFile. It can also be queried or set by calling ZwQueryInformationFile or ZwSetInformationFile.

If the CreateOptions FILE_OPEN_REPARSE_POINT flag is not specified and FltCreateFileEx attempts to open a file with a reparse point, normal reparse point processing occurs for the file. If, on the other hand, the FILE_OPEN_REPARSE_POINT flag is specified, normal reparse processing does not occur and FltCreateFileEx attempts to directly open the reparse point file. In either case, if the open operation was successful, FltCreateFileEx returns STATUS_SUCCESS; otherwise, the routine returns an NTSTATUS error code. FltCreateFileEx never returns STATUS_REPARSE.

The CreateOptions FILE_OPEN_REQUIRING_OPLOCK flag eliminates the time between when you open the file and request an oplock that could potentially enable a third party to open the file and get a sharing violation. An application can use the FILE_OPEN_REQUIRING_OPLOCK flag on FltCreateFileEx and then request any oplock. This ensures that an oplock owner will be notified of any later open request that causes a sharing violation.

In Windows 7, if other handles exist on the file when an application uses the FILE_OPEN_REQUIRING_OPLOCK flag, the create operation will fail with STATUS_OPLOCK_NOT_GRANTED. This restriction no longer exists starting with Windows 8.

If this create operation would break an oplock that already exists on the file, then setting the FILE_OPEN_REQUIRING_OPLOCK flag will cause the create operation to fail with STATUS_CANNOT_BREAK_OPLOCK. The existing oplock will not be broken by this create operation.

An application that uses this flag must request an oplock after this call succeeds, or all later attempts to open the file will be blocked without the benefit of typical oplock processing. Similarly, if this call succeeds but the later oplock request fails, an application that uses this flag must close its handle after it detects that the oplock request has failed.


The FILE_OPEN_REQUIRING_OPLOCK flag is available in Windows 7, Windows Server 2008 R2 and later Windows operating systems. The Microsoft file systems that implement this flag in Windows 7 are NTFS, FAT, and exFAT.

The CreateOptions flag FILE_RESERVE_OPFILTER allows an application to request a level 1, batch, or filter oplock to prevent other applications from getting share violations. However, FILE_RESERVE_OPFILTER is only practically useful for filter oplocks. To use it, you must complete the following steps:

  1. Issue a create request with CreateOptions of FILE_RESERVE_OPFILTER, DesiredAccess of exactly FILE_READ_ATTRIBUTES, and ShareAccess of exactly FILE_SHARE_READ | FILE_SHARE_WRITE | FILE_SHARE_DELETE.

    • If there are already open handles, the create request fails with STATUS_OPLOCK_NOT_GRANTED, and the next requested oplock also fails.
    • If you open with more access or less sharing will also cause a failure of STATUS_OPLOCK_NOT_GRANTED.
  2. If the create request succeeds, request an oplock.

  3. Open another handle to the file to do I/O.

Step three makes this practical only for filter oplocks. The handle opened in step 3 can have a DesiredAccess that contains a maximum of FILE_READ_ATTRIBUTES | FILE_WRITE_ATTRIBUTES | FILE_READ_DATA | FILE_READ_EA | FILE_EXECUTE | SYNCHRONIZE | READ_CONTROL and still not break a filter oplock. However, any DesiredAccess greater than FILE_READ_ATTRIBUTES | FILE_WRITE_ATTRIBUTES | SYNCHRONIZE will break a level 1 or batch oplock and make the FILE_RESERVE_OPFILTER flag useless for those oplock types.

NTFS is the only Microsoft file system that implements FILE_RESERVE_OPFILTER.

Minifilter drivers must use FltSetInformationFile, not ZwSetInformationFile, to rename a file.


If you try to open a volume but only specify a combination of the following flags for the DesiredAccess parameter, FltCreateFileEx2 will open a handle, independent of the file system, that has direct access to the storage device for the volume.


You must not use FltCreateFileEx to open a handle with direct access to the storage device for the volume or you will leak system resources. If you want to open a handle with direct access to a storage device, call the IoCreateFileEx, IoCreateFileSpecifyDeviceObjectHint, or ZwCreateFile function instead.


Minimum supported client Available in Microsoft Windows 2000 Update Rollup 1 for SP4, Windows XP SP3, Windows Server 2003 SP1, and later versions of the Windows operating system.
Target Platform Universal
Header fltkernel.h (include FltKernel.h)
Library Fltmgr.lib

See also