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getprivateprofilesection (kernel32)

C# Signature:

static extern uint GetPrivateProfileSection(string lpAppName,
   IntPtr lpReturnedString, uint nSize, string lpFileName);

Alternative C# Signature:

static extern uint GetPrivateProfileSection(string lpAppName,
   IntPtr lpReturnedString, uint nSize, string lpFileName);

Using this alternative allows use of Marshal.PtrToStringAuto rather than repeated use of Marshal.ReadByte in the C# sample code below. See entry for GetPrivateProfileSectionNames

VB.NET Signature:

<DllImport("kernel32.dll", SetLastError:=True)> _
Private Shared Function GetPrivateProfileSection(ByVal lpAppName As String, _
                          ByVal lpReturnedString As IntPtr, _
                          ByVal nSize As Integer, _
                          ByVal lpFileName As String) As Short
End Function

User-Defined Types:



GetPrivateProfileSection returns a null separated list of name value pairs.

Tips & Tricks:

I used the following wrapper around this function to convert lpReturnedString into a string[]

C# Sample Code

public static bool GetPrivateProfileSection(string appName, string fileName, out string[] section)
    section = null;

    if (!System.IO.File.Exists(fileName))
        return false;

    uint MAX_BUFFER = 32767;

    IntPtr pReturnedString = Marshal.AllocCoTaskMem((int)MAX_BUFFER * sizeof(char));

    uint bytesReturned = GetPrivateProfileSection(appName, pReturnedString, MAX_BUFFER, fileName);

    if ((bytesReturned == MAX_BUFFER - 2) ||(bytesReturned == 0))
        return false;

    //bytesReturned -1 to remove trailing \0

    // NOTE: Calling Marshal.PtrToStringAuto(pReturnedString) will
    //       result in only the first pair being returned
    string returnedString = Marshal.PtrToStringAuto(pReturnedString, bytesReturned - 1);

    section = returnedString.Split('\0');

    return true;

VB.NET Sample Code

Private Const MaxIniBuffer As Integer = &H7FFF

Public Shared Function ReadSection(ByVal filename As String, ByVal section As String) As System.Collections.Specialized.NameValueCollection

    Dim pBuffer As IntPtr
    Dim bytesRead As Byte
    Dim sectionData As New System.Text.StringBuilder(MaxIniBuffer)

    Dim values As New System.Collections.Specialized.NameValueCollection
    Dim pos As Integer ' seperator position
    Dim name, value As String

    If (Not System.IO.File.Exists(filename)) Then
    Return Nothing
    End If

    ' get a pointer to the unmanaged memory
    pBuffer = Marshal.AllocHGlobal(MaxIniBuffer * Marshal.SizeOf(Char))

    bytesRead = GetPrivateProfileSection(section, pBuffer, MaxIniBuffer, filename)

    If (bytesRead > 0) Then

    For i As Integer = 0 To bytesRead - 1
        sectionData.Append(Convert.ToChar(Marshal.ReadByte(pBuffer, i)))

    sectionData.Remove(sectionData.Length - 1, 1)

    For Each line As String In sectionData.ToString().Split(Convert.ToChar(0))

        ' locate the seperator
        pos = line.IndexOf("=")

        If (pos > -1) Then

        ' get values
        name = line.Substring(0, pos)
        value = line.Substring(pos + 1)

        ' add to collection
        values.Add(name, value)

        End If

    values = Nothing
    End If

    ' release the unmanaged memory

    ' return collection or Nothing if we weren't able to get anything
    Return values

End Function


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