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I am working on a "comprehensive" library for use in my internal applications and I have created a working method (as far as all of my testing has shown thus far) to ensure that a file/directory path is - or, at least, could be - legitimate and should be accessible to any user of the same application. NOTE: These are all internal systems not intended for public use or consumption.

I've tried to pull together bits of information/code I've found that address certain aspects of the issue into a "single" method, part of which involves converting an individual user's mapped drives to full UNC paths (U:\PublicFolder\SomeFile.txt becomes \\SERVERNAME\Share\PublicFolder\SomeFile.txt). On the other hand, if the drive is a local, physical drive on the user's machine, I don't want to convert that to UNC (\\COMPUTERNAME\C$\SomeFolder\SomeFile.txt), but instead retain the absolute path to the local drive (C:\SomeFolder\SomeFile.txt) to prevent issues with access privileges. This is what I've come up with, but I'm wondering if this code is a bit too ambitious or overly contrived.

Public Enum PathType
    File
    Directory
End Enum

Public Shared Function GetRealPath(ByVal file As IO.FileInfo) As String
    Return GetRealPath(file.FullName, PathType.File)
End Function

Public Shared Function GetRealPath(ByVal folder As IO.DirectoryInfo) As String
    Return GetRealPath(folder.FullName, PathType.Directory)
End Function

Public Shared Function GetRealPath(ByVal filePath As String, ByVal pathType As PathType) As String
    Dim FullPath As String = String.Empty

    If filePath Is Nothing OrElse String.IsNullOrEmpty(filePath) Then
        Throw New ArgumentNullException("No path specified")
    Else
        If filePath.IndexOfAny(IO.Path.GetInvalidPathChars) >= 0 Then
            Throw New ArgumentException("The specified path '" & filePath & "' is invalid")
        Else
            If pathType = PathType.File Then
                Try
                    Dim TempFile As New IO.FileInfo(filePath)

                    If TempFile.Name.IndexOfAny(Path.GetInvalidFileNameChars) >= 0 Then
                        Throw New ArgumentException("The specified file name '" & filePath & "' is invalid")
                    End If

                    TempFile = Nothing
                Catch ex As Exception
                    Throw New ArgumentException("The specified file name '" & filePath & "' is invalid", ex)
                End Try
            End If

            ' The path should not contain any invalid characters. Start trying to populate the FullPath variable.
            If IO.Path.IsPathRooted(filePath) Then
                FullPath = filePath
            Else
                Try
                    FullPath = IO.Path.GetFullPath(filePath)
                Catch ex As Exception
                    Throw New ArgumentException("The specified path '" & filePath & "' is invalid", ex)
                End Try
            End If

            If Not FullPath.StartsWith("\\") Then
                Dim PathRoot As String = IO.Path.GetPathRoot(FullPath)

                If PathRoot Is Nothing OrElse String.IsNullOrEmpty(PathRoot) Then
                    FullPath = String.Empty
                    Throw New ArgumentException("The specified path '" & filePath & "' is invalid")
                Else
                    If Not IO.Directory.GetLogicalDrives.Contains(PathRoot) Then
                        FullPath = String.Empty
                        Throw New ArgumentException("The specified path '" & filePath & "' is invalid. Drive '" & PathRoot & "' does not exist.")
                    Else
                        Dim CurrentDrive As New System.IO.DriveInfo(PathRoot)

                        If CurrentDrive.DriveType = DriveType.Network Then
                            Using HKCU As Microsoft.Win32.RegistryKey = Microsoft.Win32.Registry.CurrentUser.OpenSubKey("Network\" & FullPath(0))
                                If Not HKCU Is Nothing Then
                                    FullPath = HKCU.GetValue("RemotePath").ToString() & FullPath.Remove(0, 2).ToString()
                                End If
                            End Using
                        ElseIf Not CurrentDrive.DriveType = DriveType.NoRootDirectory AndAlso Not CurrentDrive.DriveType = DriveType.Unknown Then
                            Dim SubstPath As String = String.Empty

                            If IsSubstPath(FullPath, SubstPath) Then
                                FullPath = SubstPath
                            End If
                        Else
                            FullPath = String.Empty
                            Throw New ArgumentException("The specified path '" & filePath & "' is invalid. Drive '" & CurrentDrive.Name & "' does not exist.")
                        End If
                    End If
                End If
            End If
        End If
    End If

    Return FullPath
End Function

<DllImport("kernel32.dll", SetLastError:=True)>
Private Shared Function QueryDosDevice(ByVal lpDeviceName As String, ByVal lpTargetPath As System.Text.StringBuilder, ByVal ucchMax As Integer) As UInteger
End Function

Private Shared Function IsSubstPath(ByVal pathToTest As String, <Out> ByRef realPath As String) As Boolean
    Dim PathInformation As System.Text.StringBuilder = New System.Text.StringBuilder(250)
    Dim DriveLetter As String = Nothing
    Dim WinApiResult As UInteger = 0

    realPath = Nothing

    Try
        ' Get the drive letter of the path
        DriveLetter = IO.Path.GetPathRoot(pathToTest).Replace("\", "")
    Catch ex As ArgumentException
        Return False
    End Try

    WinApiResult = QueryDosDevice(DriveLetter, PathInformation, 250)

    If WinApiResult = 0 Then
        ' For debugging
        Dim LastWinError As Integer = Marshal.GetLastWin32Error()

        Return False
    End If

    ' If drive is SUBST'ed, the result will be in the format of "\??\C:\RealPath\".
    If PathInformation.ToString().StartsWith("\??\") Then
        Dim RealRoot As String = PathInformation.ToString().Remove(0, 4)

        RealRoot += If(PathInformation.ToString().EndsWith("\"), "", "\")
        realPath = IO.Path.Combine(RealRoot, pathToTest.Replace(IO.Path.GetPathRoot(pathToTest), ""))

        Return True
    End If

    realPath = pathToTest
    Return False
End Function

TESTING DONE

I've run this through a few different tests, although I'm certain I've not been exhaustive in coming up with ways to make it break. Here are the details I can remember:

On my computer, drive S: is mapped to \\SERVERNAME\Accounts\

I've declared the following variables for use during my testing.

Dim TestFile As IO.FileInfo
Dim TestFolder As IO.DirectoryInfo
Dim Path As String

INDIVIDUAL TESTS/RESULTS


' Existing Directory
TestFolder = New IO.DirectoryInfo("S:\EXE\0984\")
Path = Common.Utility.GetRealPath(TestFolder)

Correctly returns \\SERVERNAME\Accounts\EXE\0984\


' Existing File
TestFile = New IO.FileInfo("S:\EXE\0984\CPI.txt")
Path = Common.Utility.GetRealPath(TestFile)

Correctly returns \\SERVERNAME\Accounts\EXE\0984\CPI.txt


' Not actually a file, but it should return the UNC path
TestFile = New IO.FileInfo("S:\EXE\0984")
Path = Common.Utility.GetRealPath(TestFile)

Correctly returns \\SERVERNAME\Accounts\EXE\0984


' Directory does not exist, but it should return the absolute path
TestFolder = New IO.DirectoryInfo("C:\EXE\0984\")
Path = Common.Utility.GetRealPath(TestFolder)

Correctly returns C:\EXE\0984\


' Random String
TestFile = New IO.FileInfo("Can I make it break?")

Throws an immediate exception before getting to the GetRealPath() method due to illegal characters in the path (?)


' Random String
Path = Common.Utility.GetRealPath("Can I make it break?", Common.Utility.PathType.File)

Throws exception from inside the GetRealPath() method when attempting to convert the String value to an IO.FileInfo object (line 29 in the method's code posted above) due to illegal characters in the path (?)


' Random String
Path = Common.Utility.GetRealPath("Can I make it break?", Common.Utility.PathType.Directory)

Throws exception from inside the GetRealPath() method when attempting to call IO.Path.GetFullPath() on the String value (line 46 in the method's code posted above) due to illegal characters in the path (?)


' Random String
Path = Common.Utility.GetRealPath("Can I make it break", Common.Utility.PathType.Directory)
' AND
Path = Common.Utility.GetRealPath("Can I make it break", Common.Utility.PathType.File)

"Correctly" returns the path to a subfolder of the Debug folder of my project: D:\Programming\TestApp\bin\Debug\Can I make it break

I'm not 100% certain that's the behavior I want, but it's technically correct, and it makes sense for situations where relative paths can come into play.


Heck, the act of posting these examples has already started answering a few questions in my own head and helped me to think through this a bit better.

Admittedly, I've thus far been unable to fully test the SUBST conditions because I don't have any drives that have been SUBSTed and I've been unable thus far to successfully SUBST a path that shows up as a valid drive on my Windows 10 machine.


EDIT

I've successfully tested the SUBST condition on my local machine (see how my ignorance and "over-confidence" caused me some grief in my question on SO). It looks like this is all working correctly, even though, in the end, I may choose to make a few minor modifications, including:

  • I may have to add a parameter to define whether or not I want to allow relative paths to be expanded, and/or possibly check for an appropriate character sequence (./, /, .., etc.) at the start of the string before "approving" the return value. Otherwise, pretty much any string value passed in could potentially result in a "legitimate" path.
  • I've been strongly considering making the "workhorse" overload (GetRealPath(String, PathType)) a Private method (along with the PathType Enum) to allow the validation intrinsic to the IO.FileInfo and IO.DirectoryInfo objects help prevent some of the "unexpected" or "unintended" results from allowing any random String input, such as in the last example.
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    \$\begingroup\$ If you wouldn't mind, please explain the downvote. If this question is not appropriate for this site in some way, I will gladly delete it. I'm honestly just looking for some insight from those more experienced than myself. \$\endgroup\$ – G_Hosa_Phat Oct 9 at 19:37
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    \$\begingroup\$ You tell us I have created a working method (as far as all of my testing has shown thus far): do you mind sharing these tests with us? Also, since you have a lot of edge cases, it's imperative you document the function to show consumers the specification. \$\endgroup\$ – dfhwze Oct 9 at 19:52
  • \$\begingroup\$ I'll happily edit in some test/result information as far as I'm able to remember it. I haven't explicitly kept those tests, so I may have to "fudge" (and, of course, obfuscate) a little. \$\endgroup\$ – G_Hosa_Phat Oct 9 at 19:55
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    \$\begingroup\$ @dfhwze - Thank you for asking for the examples of testing. I've edited some into the question and, in so doing, I've already found some places where I can do better, as well as "remembered" some issues I had forgotten I wanted to address. \$\endgroup\$ – G_Hosa_Phat Oct 9 at 21:03

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