CommandLineToArgvW (shell32)
Last changed: -


C# Signature:

[DllImport("shell32.dll", SetLastError = true)]
static extern IntPtr CommandLineToArgvW(
   [MarshalAs(UnmanagedType.LPWStr)] string lpCmdLine,
   out int pNumArgs);

VB.NET Signature:

Declare Function CommandLineToArgv Lib "shell32.dll" Alias "CommandLineToArgvW" ( _
    ByVal lpCmdLine As String, _
    ByRef pNumArgs As Integer) As Long

User-Defined Types:



Minimum DLL Version Shell32.dll version 6.0 or later
Minimum operating systems Windows NT Workstation 3.5, Windows NT Server 3.5, Windows 2000 Professional, Windows 2000 Server, Windows XP, Windows Server 2003
Unicode This function is implemented as Unicode.

Tips & Tricks:

Please add some!

Sample Code:

using System;
using System.Runtime.InteropServices;
using System.Text;

static class CmdLineToArgvW
    // The previous examples on this page used incorrect
    // pointer logic and were removed.

    static string[] SplitArgs(string unsplitArgumentLine)
        int numberOfArgs;
        IntPtr ptrToSplitArgs;
        string[] splitArgs;

        ptrToSplitArgs = CommandLineToArgvW(unsplitArgumentLine, out numberOfArgs);

        // CommandLineToArgvW returns NULL upon failure.
        if (ptrToSplitArgs == IntPtr.Zero)
            throw new ArgumentException("Unable to split argument.", new Win32Exception());

        // Make sure the memory ptrToSplitArgs to is freed, even upon failure.
            splitArgs = new string[numberOfArgs];

            // ptrToSplitArgs is an array of pointers to null terminated Unicode strings.
            // Copy each of these strings into our split argument array.
            for (int i = 0; i < numberOfArgs; i++)
                splitArgs[i] = Marshal.PtrToStringUni(
                    Marshal.ReadIntPtr(ptrToSplitArgs, i * IntPtr.Size));

            return splitArgs;
            // Free memory obtained by CommandLineToArgW.

    [DllImport("shell32.dll", SetLastError = true)]
    static extern IntPtr CommandLineToArgvW(
        [MarshalAs(UnmanagedType.LPWStr)] string lpCmdLine,
        out int pNumArgs);

    static extern IntPtr LocalFree(IntPtr hMem);

Alternative Managed API:

Do you know one? Please contribute it!