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ExAllocateTimer routine

The ExAllocateTimer routine allocates and initializes a timer object.


PEX_TIMER ExAllocateTimer(
  _In_opt_  PEXT_CALLBACK Callback,
  _In_opt_  PVOID         CallbackContext,
  _In_      ULONG         Attributes


Callback [in, optional]

A pointer to a driver-implemented ExTimerCallback callback routine. The operating system calls this routine when the timer expires. This parameter is optional and can be NULL if no callback routine is needed.

CallbackContext [in, optional]

A context value for the callback routine pointed to by the Callback parameter. The operating system passes this value as a parameter to the ExTimerCallback callback routine, if one is specified. This parameter is typically a pointer to a caller-defined structure that contains context information used by the callback routine. This parameter is optional and can be set to NULL if no context information is needed.

Attributes [in]

The timer attributes. Set this parameter to zero or to the bitwise-OR of one or more of the following timer flag bits.

Timer flag bitDescription
EX_TIMER_HIGH_RESOLUTIONHigh-resolution timer. Make the timer more precise by using a higher-resolution clock to drive the timer.
EX_TIMER_NO_WAKENo-wake timer. Make the timer delay waking the processor to expire until the timer's expiration time plus its delay tolerance is exceeded.
EX_TIMER_NOTIFICATIONNotification timer. Make the timer a notification timer instead of a synchronization timer. If this flag is not set, the timer is a synchronization timer.


The EX_TIMER_NOTIFICATION flag bit can be set regardless of what other flag bits are set.

The EX_TIMER_HIGH_RESOLUTION and EX_TIMER_NO_WAKE flag bits are mutually exclusive. If the caller sets both of these flag bits, the routine bug checks.

For more information about timer attributes, see Remarks.

Return value

This routine returns a pointer to an EX_TIMER structure, if the call is successful. This structure is the timer object that the routine has allocated and initialized. If the call fails, the routine returns NULL.


This routine returns a pointer to the new timer object. To use the timer, the calling driver supplies this pointer in subsequent calls to the ExSetTimer, ExCancelTimer, and ExDeleteTimer routines. If the driver supplies a pointer to an ExTimerCallback callback routine as an input parameter to the ExAllocateTimer routine, the operating system passes this timer object as an input parameter to the ExTimerCallback routine.

A timer can be a notification timer or a synchronization timer. When a notification timer is signaled, all waiting threads have their wait satisfied. The state of this timer remains signaled until it is explicitly reset. When a synchronization timer expires, its state is set to signaled until a single waiting thread is released. Then, the timer is reset to the not-signaled state.

If the EX_TIMER_HIGH_RESOLUTION flag bit is set in Attributes, the operating system increases the resolution of the system clock, as necessary, so that the times at which the timer expires more precisely corresponds to the nominal expiration times specified in the DueTime and Period parameters to the ExSetTimer routine. For more information, see High-Resolution Timers.

If the EX_TIMER_NO_WAKE flag bit is set in Attributes, the timer avoids unnecessarily waking the processor from a low-power state. For more information, see No-Wake Timers.

ExAllocateTimer allocates the storage for the timer object. When this object is no longer needed, the caller is responsible for freeing this object by calling the ExDeleteTimer routine.

The Callback parameter is optional. A driver that does not supply an ExTimerCallback routine can instead initiate a wait operation on the timer object. A driver thread can call a routine such as KeWaitForSingleObject or KeWaitForMultipleObjects to wait for the timer to expire. When the timer expires, the timer object is signaled.

For more information, see ExXxxTimer Routines and EX_TIMER Objects.


Target platform



Available starting with Windows 8.1.


Wdm.h (include Wdm.h, Ntddk.h, or Ntifs.h)



See also




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