I know this is an old question, but I'm going to answer it because I have to disagree with all the answers here.
Now, I'll agree that most of the time you either want to do a plain throw. to preserve as much information as possible about what went wrong, or you want to throw a new exception that may contain that as an inner-exception, or not, depending on how likely you are to want to know about the inner events that caused it.
There is an exception though. There are several cases where a method will call into another method and a condition that causes an exception in the inner call should be considered the same exception on the outer call.
One example is a specialised collection implemented by using another collection. Let's say it's a DistinctList<T> that wraps a List<T> but refuses duplicate items.
If someone called ICollection<T>.CopyTo on your collection class, it might just be a straight call to CopyTo on the inner collection (if say, all the custom logic only applied to adding to the collection, or setting it up). Now, the conditions in which that call would throw are exactly the same conditions in which your collection should throw to match the documentation of ICollection<T>.CopyTo .
Now, you could just not catch the execption at all, and let it pass through. Here though the user gets an exception from List<T> when they were calling something on a DistinctList<T>. Not the end of the world, but you may want to hide those implementation details.
Or you could do your own checking:
That's not the worse code because it's boilerplate and we can probably just copy it from some other implementation of CopyTo where it wasn't a simple pass-through and we had to implement it ourselves. Still, it's needlessly repeating the exact same checks that are going to be done in
_innerList.CopyTo(array, arrayIndex). so the only thing it has added to our code is 6 lines where there could be a bug.
We could check and wrap:
In terms of new code added that could potentially be buggy, this is even worse. And we don't gain a thing from the inner exceptions. If we pass a null array to this method and receive an ArgumentNullException. we're not going to learn anything by examining the inner exception and learning that a call to _innerList.CopyTo was passed a null array and threw an ArgumentNullException .
Here, we can do everything we want with:
Every one of the exceptions that we expect to have to throw if the user calls it with incorrect arguments, will correctly be thrown by that re-throw. If there's a bug in the logic used here, it's in one of two lines - either we were wrong in deciding this was a case where this approach works, or we were wrong in having ArgumentException as the exception type looked for. It's the only two bugs that the catch block can possibly have.
Now. I still agree that most of the time you either want a plain throw; or you want to construct your own exception to more directly match the problem from the perspective of the method in question. There are cases like the above where re-throwing like this makes more sense, and there are plenty of other cases. E.g. to take a very different example, if an ATOM file reader implemented with a FileStream and an XmlTextReader receives a file error or invalid XML, then it will perhaps want to throw exactly the same exception it received from those classes, but it should look to the caller that it is AtomFileReader that is throwing a FileNotFoundException or XmlException. so they might be candidates for similarly re-throwing.
We can also combine the two: