WSPDuplicateSocket function

The WSPDuplicateSocket function returns a WSAPROTOCOL_INFO structure that can be used to create a new socket descriptor for a shared socket.


int WSPDuplicateSocket(
  _In_  SOCKET             s,
  _In_  DWORD              dwProcessId,
  _Out_ LPWSAPROTOCOL_INFO lpProtocolInfo,
  _Out_ LPINT              lpErrno


s [in]

Local socket descriptor.

dwProcessId [in]

Identifier of the target process for which the shared socket will be used.

lpProtocolInfo [out]

Pointer to a buffer allocated by the client that is large enough to contain a WSAPROTOCOL_INFO structure. The service provider copies the protocol information structure contents to this buffer.

lpErrno [out]

Pointer to the error code.

Return value

If no error occurs, WSPDuplicateSocket returns zero. Otherwise, the value of SOCKET_ERROR is returned, and a specific error number is available in lpErrno.

Error codeMeaning

The network subsystem has failed.


Indicates that one of the specified parameters was invalid.


Blocking Windows Sockets call is in progress or the service provider is still processing a callback function.


No more socket descriptors are available.


No buffer space is available. The socket cannot be created.


The descriptor is not a socket.




A source process calls WSPDuplicateSocket to obtain a special WSAPROTOCOL_INFO structure. It uses some interprocess communications (IPC) mechanism to pass the contents of this structure to a target process, which in turn uses it in a call to WSPSocket to obtain a descriptor for the duplicated socket. Note that the special WSAPROTOCOL_INFO structure can only be used once by the target process.

It is the service provider's responsibility to perform whatever operations are needed in the source process context and to create a WSAPROTOCOL_INFO structure that will be recognized when it subsequently appears as a parameter to WSPSocket in the target processes' context. The provider must then return a socket descriptor that references a common underlying socket. The dwProviderReserved member of the WSAPROTOCOL_INFO structure is available for the service provider's use and can be used to store any useful context information, including a duplicated handle.

When new socket descriptors are allocated, IFS providers must call WPUModifyIFSHandle and non-IFS providers must call WPUCreateSocketHandle. To ensure proper execution of socket duplication, service providers must use the WSPDuplicateSocket function; do not use the DuplicateHandle function.

One possible scenario for establishing and using a shared socket in handoff mode is illustrated in the following.

Source processIPCDestination process
1) WSPSocket, WSPConnect.
2) Requests target process identifier.==>
3) Receives process identifier request and respond.
4) Receives process identifier.<==
5) Calls WSPDuplicateSocket to get a special WSAPROTOCOL_INFO structure.
6) Sends WSAPROTOCOL_INFO structure to target.
==>7) Receives WSAPROTOCOL_INFO structure.
8) Calls WSPSocket to create shared socket descriptor.
9) Uses shared socket for data exchange.
10) WSPClosesocket <==



The descriptors that reference a shared socket can be used independently as far as I/O is concerned. However, the Windows Sockets interface does not implement any type of access control, so it is up to the processes involved to coordinate their operations on a shared socket. A typical use for shared sockets is to have one process that is responsible for creating sockets and establishing connections, hand off sockets to other processes that are responsible for information exchange.

Since what is duplicated are the socket descriptors and not the underlying socket, all the states associated with a socket are held in common across all the descriptors. For example a WSPSetSockOpt operation performed using one descriptor is subsequently visible using a WSPGetSockOpt from any or all descriptors. A process can call WSPClosesocket on a duplicated socket and the descriptor will become deallocated. The underlying socket, however, will remain open until WSPClosesocket is called by the last remaining descriptor.

Notification on shared sockets is subject to the usual constraints of WSPAsyncSelect and WSPEventSelect. Issuing either of these calls using any of the shared descriptors cancels any previous event registration for the socket, regardless of which descriptor was used to make that registration. Thus, for example, a shared socket cannot deliver FD_READ events to process A and FD_WRITE events to process B. For situations when such tight coordination is required, it is suggested that developers use threads instead of separate processes.

A layered service provider supplies an implementation of this function, but it is also a client of this function if and when it calls WSPDuplicateSocket of the next layer in the protocol chain. Some special considerations apply to this function's lpProtocolInfo parameter as it is propagated down through the layers of the protocol chain.

If the next layer in the protocol chain is another layer then when the next layer's WSPDuplicateSocket is called, this layer must pass to the next layer a lpProtocolInfo that references the same unmodified WSAPROTOCOL_INFO structure with the same unmodified chain information. However, if the next layer is the base protocol (that is, the last element in the chain), this layer performs a substitution when calling the base provider's WSPDuplicateSocket. In this case, the base provider's WSAPROTOCOL_INFO structure should be referenced by the lpProtocolInfo parameter.

One vital benefit of this policy is that base service providers do not have to be aware of protocol chains. This same policy applies when propagating a WSAPROTOCOL_INFO structure through a layered sequence of other functions such as WSPAddressToString, WSPStartup, WSPSocket, or WSPStringToAddress.


Minimum supported client

Windows 2000 Professional [desktop apps only]

Minimum supported server

Windows 2000 Server [desktop apps only]



See also