SHGetFolderPathA function (shlobj_core.h)

Deprecated. Gets the path of a folder identified by a CSIDL value.

Note  As of Windows Vista, this function is merely a wrapper for SHGetKnownFolderPath. The CSIDL value is translated to its associated KNOWNFOLDERID and then SHGetKnownFolderPath is called. New applications should use the known folder system rather than the older CSIDL system, which is supported only for backward compatibility.


  [in]  HWND   hwnd,
  [in]  int    csidl,
  [in]  HANDLE hToken,
  [in]  DWORD  dwFlags,
  [out] LPSTR  pszPath


[in] hwnd

Type: HWND


[in] csidl

Type: int

A CSIDL value that identifies the folder whose path is to be retrieved. Only real folders are valid. If a virtual folder is specified, this function fails. You can force creation of a folder by combining the folder's CSIDL with CSIDL_FLAG_CREATE.

[in] hToken


An access token that can be used to represent a particular user.

Microsoft Windows 2000 and earlier: Always set this parameter to NULL.

Windows XP and later: This parameter is usually set to NULL, but you might need to assign a non-NULL value to hToken for those folders that can have multiple users but are treated as belonging to a single user. The most commonly used folder of this type is Documents.

The calling process is responsible for correct impersonation when hToken is non-NULL. The calling process must have appropriate security privileges for the particular user, including TOKEN_QUERY and TOKEN_IMPERSONATE, and the user's registry hive must be currently mounted. See Access Control for further discussion of access control issues.

Assigning the hToken parameter a value of -1 indicates the Default User. This enables clients of SHGetFolderPath to find folder locations (such as the Desktop folder) for the Default User. The Default User user profile is duplicated when any new user account is created, and includes special folders such as My Documents and Desktop. Any items added to the Default User folder also appear in any new user account.

[in] dwFlags


Flags that specify the path to be returned. This value is used in cases where the folder associated with a KNOWNFOLDERID (or CSIDL) can be moved, renamed, redirected, or roamed across languages by a user or administrator.

The known folder system that underlies SHGetFolderPath allows users or administrators to redirect a known folder to a location that suits their needs. This is achieved by calling IKnownFolderManager::Redirect, which sets the "current" value of the folder associated with the SHGFP_TYPE_CURRENT flag.

The default value of the folder, which is the location of the folder if a user or administrator had not redirected it elsewhere, is retrieved by specifying the SHGFP_TYPE_DEFAULT flag. This value can be used to implement a "restore defaults" feature for a known folder.

For example, the default value (SHGFP_TYPE_DEFAULT) for FOLDERID_Music (CSIDL_MYMUSIC) is "C:\Users\user name\Music". If the folder was redirected, the current value (SHGFP_TYPE_CURRENT) might be "D:\Music". If the folder has not been redirected, then SHGFP_TYPE_DEFAULT and SHGFP_TYPE_CURRENT retrieve the same path.


Retrieve the folder's current path.


Retrieve the folder's default path.

[out] pszPath


A pointer to a null-terminated string of length MAX_PATH which will receive the path. If an error occurs or S_FALSE is returned, this string will be empty. The returned path does not include a trailing backslash. For example, "C:\Users" is returned rather than "C:\Users\".

Return value


If this function succeeds, it returns S_OK. Otherwise, it returns an HRESULT error code.


This function is a superset of SHGetSpecialFolderPath.

Only some CSIDL values are supported, including the following:


The following code example uses SHGetFolderPath to find or create a folder and then creates a file in it.


    PathAppend(szPath, TEXT("New Doc.txt"));
    HANDLE hFile = CreateFile(szPath, ...);


Requirement Value
Minimum supported client Windows 2000 Professional, Windows XP [desktop apps only]
Minimum supported server Windows 2000 Server [desktop apps only]
Target Platform Windows
Header shlobj_core.h (include Shlobj.h, Shlobj_core.h)
Library Shell32.lib
DLL Shell32.dll (version 5.0 or later)

See also