Checking if a console process is alive

Posted on 1998-10-01
Last Modified: 2013-11-20
I have a console application running on a NT workstation.
It spawns off one or more instances of a child program using CreateProcess. It retains each child's Process ID and periodically checks if the children are alive or not, using OpenProcess.

The OpenProcess sometimes returns a NULL handle even if the child process is alive. This seems to happen when the NT server is really really busy - the child processes do some heavy number crunching.

Any suggestions ?

int main( int argc, char *argv[] )

   if ( !CreateProcess(NULL, (char *), NULL, NULL, FALSE, CREATE_NEW_CONSOLE, NULL, NULL, &si, &pi) )
      cout << "Failed to start Child Process, CreateProcess returned " << GetLastError() << endl;
      cout << "Child Process ID is " << pi.dwProcessId << endl;

bool isActive( DWORD ProcessID )
   //Get handle to process
   HANDLE handle = OpenProcess( PROCESS_QUERY_INFORMATION, FALSE, ProcessID );
   if ( handle != NULL )
      DWORD Value;
      if ( GetExitCodeProcess( handle, &Value ) && ( Value == (DWORD)STILL_ACTIVE ) )
         return true;

   return false;
Question by:footloose
LVL 86

Accepted Solution

jkr earned 100 total points
ID: 1322821
Use the 'hProcess' member of the 'PROCESS_INFORMATION' structure filled in by the 'CreateProcess()' call instead of using 'OpenProcess()'. Besides, 'GetExitCodeProcess()' (as 'GetExitCodeThread()') is not very reliable for this task - i prefer calling 'WaitForSingleObject()' - the object's state is signaled when it terminates, so 'WAIT_TIMEOUT' guarantees that it's still running...

Author Comment

ID: 1322822
Thanks, JKR.Your suggestion works fine.

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