One of the core features of any operating system is how it interacts with a file system. MS-DOS, the predecessor of Microsoft Windows, even alludes to this importance in its name: the "D" in "MS-DOS" stands for "Disk." With this stress on file systems and files, it's only natural that the .NET Framework includes significant support for manipulating directories, files, and the contents of files.
The recipes in this chapter introduce many of the file-management and -manipulation features found in .NET and Visual Basic. For the Visual Basic programmer, much of the focus is on the My.Computer.FileSystem object, which provides a virtual cornucopia of file-management features.
The Windows file system includes support for security and access limitations, imposed either by the administrator or by standard users. Even if a recipe in this chapter says, "You can do such and such," it may not be true for users who have had file-system limits placed on them or their programs. This is especially true of Click-Once-deployed applications, which can be run in a type of "sandbox" that places harsh limits on file access.