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AutoResetEvent Class

Updated: March 2011

Notifies a waiting thread that an event has occurred. This class cannot be inherited.

Namespace:  System.Threading
Assembly:  mscorlib (in mscorlib.dll)

[ComVisibleAttribute(true)]
[HostProtectionAttribute(SecurityAction.LinkDemand, Synchronization = true, 
	ExternalThreading = true)]
public sealed class AutoResetEvent : EventWaitHandle

NoteNote:

The HostProtectionAttribute attribute applied to this type or member has the following Resources property value: Synchronization | ExternalThreading. The HostProtectionAttribute does not affect desktop applications (which are typically started by double-clicking an icon, typing a command, or entering a URL in a browser). For more information, see the HostProtectionAttribute class or SQL Server Programming and Host Protection Attributes.

AutoResetEvent allows threads to communicate with each other by signaling. Typically, you use this class when threads need exclusive access to a resource.

A thread waits for a signal by calling WaitOne on the AutoResetEvent. If the AutoResetEvent is in the non-signaled state, the thread blocks, waiting for the thread that currently controls the resource to signal that the resource is available by calling Set.

Calling Set signals AutoResetEvent to release a waiting thread. AutoResetEvent remains signaled until a single waiting thread is released, and then automatically returns to the non-signaled state. If no threads are waiting, the state remains signaled indefinitely.

If a thread calls WaitOne while the AutoResetEvent is in the signaled state, the thread does not block. The AutoResetEvent releases the thread immediately and returns to the non-signaled state.

Important noteImportant Note:

There is no guarantee that every call to the Set method will release a thread. If two calls are too close together, so that the second call occurs before a thread has been released, only one thread is released. It is as if the second call did not happen. Also, if Set is called when there are no threads waiting and the AutoResetEvent is already signaled, the call has no effect.

You can control the initial state of an AutoResetEvent by passing a Boolean value to the constructor: true if the initial state is signaled and false otherwise.

AutoResetEvent can also be used with the static WaitAll and WaitAny methods.

For more information about thread synchronization mechanisms, see AutoResetEvent in the conceptual documentation.

Beginning with the .NET Framework version 2.0, AutoResetEvent derives from the new EventWaitHandle class. An AutoResetEvent is functionally equivalent to an EventWaitHandle created with EventResetMode.AutoReset.

NoteNote:

Unlike the AutoResetEvent class, the EventWaitHandle class provides access to named system synchronization events.

The following example shows how to use AutoResetEvent to release one thread at a time, by calling the Set method (on the base class) each time the user presses the Enter key. The example starts three threads, which wait on an AutoResetEvent that was created in the signaled state. The first thread is released immediately, because the AutoResetEvent is already in the signaled state. This resets the AutoResetEvent to the non-signaled state, so that subsequent threads block. The blocked threads are not released until the user releases them one at a time by pressing the Enter key.

After the threads are released from the first AutoResetEvent, they wait on another AutoResetEvent that was created in the non-signaled state. All three threads block, so the Set method must be called three times to release them all.

using System;
using System.Threading;

// Visual Studio: Replace the default class in a Console project with  
//                the following class. 
class Example
{
    private static AutoResetEvent event_1 = new AutoResetEvent(true);
    private static AutoResetEvent event_2 = new AutoResetEvent(false);

    static void Main()
    {
        Console.WriteLine("Press Enter to create three threads and start them.\r\n" +
                          "The threads wait on AutoResetEvent #1, which was created\r\n" +
                          "in the signaled state, so the first thread is released.\r\n" +
                          "This puts AutoResetEvent #1 into the unsignaled state.");
        Console.ReadLine();

        for (int i = 1; i < 4; i++)
        {
            Thread t = new Thread(ThreadProc);
            t.Name = "Thread_" + i;
            t.Start();
        }
        Thread.Sleep(250);

        for (int i = 0; i < 2; i++)
        {
            Console.WriteLine("Press Enter to release another thread.");
            Console.ReadLine();
            event_1.Set();
            Thread.Sleep(250);
        }

        Console.WriteLine("\r\nAll threads are now waiting on AutoResetEvent #2.");
        for (int i = 0; i < 3; i++)
        {
            Console.WriteLine("Press Enter to release a thread.");
            Console.ReadLine();
            event_2.Set();
            Thread.Sleep(250);
        }

        // Visual Studio: Uncomment the following line. 
        //Console.Readline();
    }

    static void ThreadProc()
    {
        string name = Thread.CurrentThread.Name;

        Console.WriteLine("{0} waits on AutoResetEvent #1.", name);
        event_1.WaitOne();
        Console.WriteLine("{0} is released from AutoResetEvent #1.", name);

        Console.WriteLine("{0} waits on AutoResetEvent #2.", name);
        event_2.WaitOne();
        Console.WriteLine("{0} is released from AutoResetEvent #2.", name);

        Console.WriteLine("{0} ends.", name);
    }
}

/* This example produces output similar to the following:

Press Enter to create three threads and start them.
The threads wait on AutoResetEvent #1, which was created
in the signaled state, so the first thread is released.
This puts AutoResetEvent #1 into the unsignaled state.

Thread_1 waits on AutoResetEvent #1.
Thread_1 is released from AutoResetEvent #1.
Thread_1 waits on AutoResetEvent #2.
Thread_3 waits on AutoResetEvent #1.
Thread_2 waits on AutoResetEvent #1.
Press Enter to release another thread.

Thread_3 is released from AutoResetEvent #1.
Thread_3 waits on AutoResetEvent #2.
Press Enter to release another thread.

Thread_2 is released from AutoResetEvent #1.
Thread_2 waits on AutoResetEvent #2.

All threads are now waiting on AutoResetEvent #2.
Press Enter to release a thread.

Thread_2 is released from AutoResetEvent #2.
Thread_2 ends.
Press Enter to release a thread.

Thread_1 is released from AutoResetEvent #2.
Thread_1 ends.
Press Enter to release a thread.

Thread_3 is released from AutoResetEvent #2.
Thread_3 ends.
 */

This class is thread safe.

Windows 7, Windows Vista, Windows XP SP2, Windows XP Media Center Edition, Windows XP Professional x64 Edition, Windows XP Starter Edition, Windows Server 2008 R2, Windows Server 2008, Windows Server 2003, Windows Server 2000 SP4, Windows Millennium Edition, Windows 98, Windows CE, Windows Mobile for Smartphone, Windows Mobile for Pocket PC, Xbox 360, Zune

The .NET Framework and .NET Compact Framework do not support all versions of every platform. For a list of the supported versions, see .NET Framework System Requirements.

.NET Framework

Supported in: 3.5, 3.0, 2.0, 1.1, 1.0

.NET Compact Framework

Supported in: 3.5, 2.0, 1.0

XNA Framework

Supported in: 3.0, 2.0, 1.0

Date

History

Reason

March 2011

Provided a simpler example.

Customer feedback.

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