Supports a simple iteration over a non-generic collection.

See Also: IEnumerator Members


public interface IEnumerator


IEnumerator is the base interface for all non-generic enumerators.

For the generic version of this interface see IEnumerator`1.

The foreach statement of the C# language (for each in Visual Basic) hides the complexity of the enumerators. Therefore, using foreach is recommended instead of directly manipulating the enumerator.

Enumerators can be used to read the data in the collection, but they cannot be used to modify the underlying collection.

Initially, the enumerator is positioned before the first element in the collection. The IEnumerator.Reset method also brings the enumerator back to this position. After an enumerator is created or the IEnumerator.Reset method is called, you must call the IEnumerator.MoveNext method to advance the enumerator to the first element of the collection before reading the value of IEnumerator.Current; otherwise, IEnumerator.Current is undefined..

IEnumerator.Current returns the same object until either IEnumerator.MoveNext or IEnumerator.Reset is called. IEnumerator.MoveNext sets IEnumerator.Current to the next element.

If IEnumerator.MoveNext passes the end of the collection, the enumerator is positioned after the last element in the collection and IEnumerator.MoveNext returns false. When the enumerator is at this position, subsequent calls to IEnumerator.MoveNext also return false. If the last call to IEnumerator.MoveNext returned false, calling IEnumerator.Current throws an exception. To set IEnumerator.Current to the first element of the collection again, you can call IEnumerator.Reset followed by IEnumerator.MoveNext.

An enumerator remains valid as long as the collection remains unchanged. If changes are made to the collection, such as adding, modifying, or deleting elements, the enumerator is irrecoverably invalidated and the next call to IEnumerator.MoveNext or IEnumerator.Reset throws an InvalidOperationException. If the collection is modified between IEnumerator.MoveNext and IEnumerator.Current, IEnumerator.Current returns the element that it is set to, even if the enumerator is already invalidated.

The enumerator does not have exclusive access to the collection; therefore, enumerating through a collection is intrinsically not a thread-safe procedure. Even when a collection is synchronized, other threads can still modify the collection, which causes the enumerator to throw an exception. To guarantee thread safety during enumeration, you can either lock the collection during the entire enumeration or catch the exceptions resulting from changes made by other threads.


Namespace: System.Collections
Assembly: mscorlib (in mscorlib.dll)
Assembly Versions: 1.0.5000.0,,