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A Journal about the experiences I have developing little applications in C#, Perl, Html and Javascript and talking about things new things that I use. Always Geeky; Always Nerdy; Always poor Grammer!

I am a Software Analyst Developer working in Southport, England but living in Liverpool. I develop mainly in C# and ASP.Net. I have been developing comercial software for several years now. I maintain this site (hosted at SwitchMedia UK) as a way of exploring new technologies (such as AJAX) and just generally talking about techie geek issues. This site is developed through a host of Perl scripts and a liberal use of Javascript. I enjoy experimenting with new technologies and anything that I make I host here.

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Web www.kinlan.co.uk

Sunday, April 17, 2005

Iterating Accross A Users Links in c#

One thing I have been looking at recently is how to access the Users Internet Explorer Favorites.

I managed to find two resources somewhere, one was c# to find the favorites and the other was VB.Net code which parse the *.Url file.

I have the code below (tv is a Tree view on a form):

DirectoryInfo di = new DirectoryInfo(
Environment.SpecialFolder.Favorites ));


The above code will get the directory information about a users Favorites. The Static vairable "Environment.SpecialFolder" contains some other very usefull locations. My Computer, My Network etc.... I think :)

private void EnumerateFavorites(DirectoryInfo dii)
int i = tv.Nodes.Count-1;
foreach(DirectoryInfo dI in dii.GetDirectories())

foreach(FileInfo fi in dii.GetFiles())
string URL = GetUrlFromLinkFile(fi.FullName);

private string GetUrlFromLinkFile(string file)
StreamReader sr = null;
string content;
return "";

sr = new StreamReader(file);
content = sr.ReadToEnd();
if(sr != null)

if(content.Length == 0)
return "";

int startI = content.IndexOf("URL=");

if(startI == -1)
return "";

startI += 4;
int endI = content.IndexOf(
Environment.NewLine, startI + 1);

return content.Substring(startI, endI -startI);

What appears above is code that will Recursivly iterate into any Folders that the user has defined for their Favorites. Some futher code will also parse the .URL.

The *.URL file is a basic text file (much like the AutoRun.inf file). One line starts URL=kinlan.co.uk etc. The function GetUrlFromLinkFile, parse this information and returns it as a string.

If I find the resources where I got this from I will give the credit where it is due.

One thing that is not available in the *.URL is the text that appears in the Internet Explorer Favorites menu. For example www.microsoft.com might appear as "Microsoft" in the Favorite menu. If anyone knows how to do this in c# let me know (I would be greatful). I have a feeling that it might be something to do with IShellLink, but I am not too sure, nor am I any good with Interop [at the moment, I will have to learn]

Comments: [Add New]

I know this is a really old article; however, I've been looking for a way to iterate through favorites using C#. This article was very helpful, but there was a problem. I kept getting a runtime error because endI was always returning -1 . So the function could not return any value.
The subString function would be having an invalid length(a negative number).
endI depends on the existence of a NewLine character. But there's no such character in the favorites(at least in mine :S )
So the workaround would be to add this statement before initializing endI :
content += Environment.NewLine;

I might've said so much but I hope it helps someone, it helped me :)


By Blogger Mahmoud, at Thursday, March 13, 2008 1:32:00 AM