This documentation is archived and is not being maintained.

Dispatcher Class

Updated: August 2011

Provides services for managing the queue of work items for a thread.

Namespace:  System.Windows.Threading
Assembly:  WindowsBase (in WindowsBase.dll)

public sealed class Dispatcher
You cannot directly create an instance of this class in XAML.

The Dispatcher maintains a prioritized queue of work items for a specific thread.

When a Dispatcher is created on a thread, it becomes the only Dispatcher that can be associated with the thread, even if the Dispatcher is shut down.

If you attempt to get the CurrentDispatcher for the current thread and a Dispatcher is not associated with the thread, a Dispatcher will be created. A Dispatcher is also created when you create a DispatcherObject. If you create a Dispatcher on a background thread, be sure to shut down the dispatcher before exiting the thread.

If a Dispatcher is shut down, it cannot be restarted.

In WPF, a DispatcherObject can only be accessed by the Dispatcher it is associated with.  For example, a background thread cannot update the contents of a Button that is associated with the Dispatcher on the UI thread. In order for the background thread to access the Content property of the Button, the background thread must delegate the work to the Dispatcher associated with the UI thread. This is accomplished by using either Invoke or BeginInvokeInvoke is synchronous and BeginInvoke is asynchronous. The operation is added to the queue of the Dispatcher at the specified DispatcherPriority.

If BeginInvoke is called on a Dispatcher that has shut down, the status property of the returned DispatcherOperation is set to Aborted.

All of the methods on Dispatcher, with the exception of DisableProcessing, are free-threaded.

Objects that derive from DispatcherObject have thread affinity.

Objects that derive from Freezable are free-threaded when they are frozen. For more information, see Freezable Objects Overview.

The following example shows how to place an operation onto a Dispatcher. For the full source code of this example, see Single-Threaded Application with Long-Running Calculation Sample.

First, a delegate is created that accepts no arguments.

public delegate void NextPrimeDelegate();

Next, BeginInvoke(DispatcherPriority, Delegate) is called. This call to BeginInvoke(DispatcherPriority, Delegate) takes two parameters: the priority, which is set to DispatcherPriority.Normal, and the callback, which is passed in through an instance of the delegate NextPrimeDelegate.

    new NextPrimeDelegate(CheckNextNumber));


Any public static (Shared in Visual Basic) members of this type are thread safe. Any instance members are not guaranteed to be thread safe.

Windows 7, Windows Vista, Windows XP SP2, Windows Server 2008 R2, Windows Server 2008, Windows Server 2003

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