GetFileAttributesA function (fileapi.h)

Retrieves file system attributes for a specified file or directory.

To get more attribute information, use the GetFileAttributesEx function.

To perform this operation as a transacted operation, use the GetFileAttributesTransacted function.


DWORD GetFileAttributesA(
  [in] LPCSTR lpFileName


[in] lpFileName

The name of the file or directory.

By default, the name is limited to MAX_PATH characters. To extend this limit to 32,767 wide characters, prepend "\\?\" to the path. For more information, see Naming Files, Paths, and Namespaces.


Starting with Windows 10, Version 1607, you can opt-in to remove the MAX_PATH limitation without prepending "\\?\". See the "Maximum Path Length Limitation" section of Naming Files, Paths, and Namespaces for details.

Return value

If the function succeeds, the return value contains the attributes of the specified file or directory. For a list of attribute values and their descriptions, see File Attribute Constants.

If the function fails, the return value is INVALID_FILE_ATTRIBUTES. To get extended error information, call GetLastError.


When GetFileAttributes is called on a directory that is a mounted folder, it returns the file system attributes of the directory, not those of the root directory in the volume that the mounted folder associates with the directory. To obtain the file attributes of the associated volume, call GetVolumeNameForVolumeMountPoint to obtain the name of the associated volume. Then use the resulting name in a call to GetFileAttributes. The results are the attributes of the root directory on the associated volume.

If you call GetFileAttributes for a network share, the function fails, and GetLastError returns ERROR_BAD_NETPATH. You must specify a path to a subfolder on that share.

In Windows 8 and Windows Server 2012, this function is supported by the following technologies.

Technology Supported
Server Message Block (SMB) 3.0 protocol Yes
SMB 3.0 Transparent Failover (TFO) Yes
SMB 3.0 with Scale-out File Shares (SO) Yes
Cluster Shared Volume File System (CsvFS) Yes
Resilient File System (ReFS) Yes

Symbolic link behavior—If the path points to a symbolic link, the function returns attributes for the symbolic link.

Transacted Operations

If a file is open for modification in a transaction, no other thread can open the file for modification until the transaction is committed. So if a transacted thread opens the file first, any subsequent threads that try modifying the file before the transaction is committed receives a sharing violation. If a non-transacted thread modifies the file before the transacted thread does, and the file is still open when the transaction attempts to open it, the transaction receives the error ERROR_TRANSACTIONAL_CONFLICT.


For an example, see Retrieving and Changing File Attributes.


The fileapi.h header defines GetFileAttributes as an alias which automatically selects the ANSI or Unicode version of this function based on the definition of the UNICODE preprocessor constant. Mixing usage of the encoding-neutral alias with code that not encoding-neutral can lead to mismatches that result in compilation or runtime errors. For more information, see Conventions for Function Prototypes.


Requirement Value
Minimum supported client Windows XP [desktop apps | UWP apps]
Minimum supported server Windows Server 2003 [desktop apps | UWP apps]
Target Platform Windows
Header fileapi.h (include Windows.h)
Library Kernel32.lib
DLL Kernel32.dll

See also


File Attribute Constants

File Management Functions






Symbolic Links