_beginthread, _beginthreadex

Creates a thread.

uintptr_t _beginthread( // NATIVE CODE
   void( __cdecl *start_address )( void * ),
   unsigned stack_size,
   void *arglist 
uintptr_t _beginthread( // MANAGED CODE
   void( __clrcall *start_address )( void * ),
   unsigned stack_size,
   void *arglist 
uintptr_t _beginthreadex( // NATIVE CODE
   void *security,
   unsigned stack_size,
   unsigned ( __stdcall *start_address )( void * ),
   void *arglist,
   unsigned initflag,
   unsigned *thrdaddr 
uintptr_t _beginthreadex( // MANAGED CODE
   void *security,
   unsigned stack_size,
   unsigned ( __clrcall *start_address )( void * ),
   void *arglist,
   unsigned initflag,
   unsigned *thrdaddr 


  • start_address
    Start address of a routine that begins execution of a new thread. For _beginthread, the calling convention is either __cdecl (for native code) or __clrcall (for managed code); for _beginthreadex, it is either __stdcall (for native code) or __clrcall (for managed code).

  • stack_size
    Stack size for a new thread or 0.

  • Arglist
    Argument list to be passed to a new thread or NULL.

  • Security
    Pointer to a SECURITY_ATTRIBUTES structure that determines whether the returned handle can be inherited by child processes. If NULL, the handle cannot be inherited. Must be NULL for Windows 95 applications.

  • Initflag
    Initial state of a new thread (0 for running or CREATE_SUSPENDED for suspended); use ResumeThread to execute the thread.

  • Thrdaddr
    Points to a 32-bit variable that receives the thread identifier. Might be NULL, in which case it is not used.

Return Value

If successful, each of these functions returns a handle to the newly created thread; however, if the newly created thread exits too quickly, _beginthread might not return a valid handle (see the discussion in the Remarks section). _beginthread returns -1L on an error, in which case errno is set to EAGAIN if there are too many threads, to EINVAL if the argument is invalid or the stack size is incorrect, or to EACCES in the case of insufficient resources (such as memory). _beginthreadex returns 0 on an error, in which case errno and _doserrno are set.

If startaddress is NULL, the invalid parameter handler is invoked, as described in Parameter Validation. If execution is allowed to continue, these functions set errno to EINVAL and return -1.

For more information about these and other return codes, see _doserrno, errno, _sys_errlist, and _sys_nerr.

For more information about uintptr_t, see Standard Types.


The _beginthread function creates a thread that begins execution of a routine at start_address. The routine at start_address must use the __cdecl (for native code) or __clrcall (for managed code) calling convention and should have no return value. When the thread returns from that routine, it is terminated automatically. For more information about threads, see Multithreading.

_beginthreadex resembles the Win32 CreateThread API more closely than _beginthread does. _beginthreadex differs from _beginthread in the following ways:

  • _beginthreadex has three additional parameters: initflag, security, and threadaddr. The new thread can be created in a suspended state, with a specified security (Windows NT only), and can be accessed using thrdaddr, which is the thread identifier.

  • The routine at start_address passed to _beginthreadex must use the __stdcall (for native code) or __clrcall (for managed code) calling convention and must return a thread exit code.

  • _beginthreadex returns 0 on failure, rather than -1L.

  • A thread created with _beginthreadex is terminated by a call to _endthreadex.

The _beginthreadex function gives you more control over how the thread is created than _beginthread does. The _endthreadex function is also more flexible. For example, with _beginthreadex, you can use security information, set the initial state of the thread (running or suspended), and get the thread identifier of the newly created thread. You are also able to use the thread handle returned by _beginthreadex with the synchronization APIs, which you cannot do with _beginthread.

It is safer to use _beginthreadex than _beginthread. If the thread generated by _beginthread exits quickly, the handle returned to the caller of _beginthread might be invalid or, worse, point to another thread. However, the handle returned by _beginthreadex has to be closed by the caller of _beginthreadex, so it is guaranteed to be a valid handle if _beginthreadex did not return an error.

You can call _endthread or _endthreadex explicitly to terminate a thread; however, _endthread or _endthreadex is called automatically when the thread returns from the routine passed as a parameter. Terminating a thread with a call to endthread or _endthreadex helps to ensure proper recovery of resources allocated for the thread.

_endthread automatically closes the thread handle (whereas _endthreadex does not). Therefore, when using _beginthread and _endthread, do not explicitly close the thread handle by calling the Win32 CloseHandle API. This behavior differs from the Win32 ExitThread API.


For an executable file linked with Libcmt.lib, do not call the Win32 ExitThread API; this prevents the run-time system from reclaiming allocated resources. _endthread and _endthreadex reclaim allocated thread resources and then call ExitThread.

The operating system handles the allocation of the stack when either _beginthread or _beginthreadex is called; you do not need to pass the address of the thread stack to either of these functions. In addition, the stack_size argument can be 0, in which case the operating system uses the same value as the stack specified for the main thread.

arglist is a parameter to be passed to the newly created thread. Typically it is the address of a data item, such as a character string. arglist can be NULL if it is not needed, but _beginthread and _beginthreadex must be provided with some value to pass to the new thread. All threads are terminated if any thread calls abort, exit, _exit, or ExitProcess.

The locale of the new thread is inherited from its parent thread. If per thread locale is enabled by a call to _configthreadlocale (either globally or for new threads only), the thread can change its locale independently from its parent by calling setlocale or _wsetlocale. For more information, see Locale.

For mixed and pure code, _beginthread and _beginthreadex both have two overloads, one taking a native calling-convention function pointer, the other taking a __clrcall function pointer. The first overload is not application domain-safe and never will be. If you are writing mixed or pure code you must ensure that the new thread enters the correct application domain before it accesses managed resources. You can do this, for example, by using call_in_appdomain Function. The second overload is application domain-safe; the newly created thread will always end up in the application domain of the caller of _beginthread or _beginthreadex.



Required header





For more compatibility information, see Compatibility in the Introduction.


Multithreaded versions of the C run-time libraries only.

To use _beginthread or _beginthreadex, the application must link with one of the multithreaded C run-time libraries.


The following example uses _beginthread and _endthread.

// crt_BEGTHRD.C
// compile with: /MT /D "_X86_" /c
// processor: x86
#include <windows.h>
#include <process.h>    /* _beginthread, _endthread */
#include <stddef.h>
#include <stdlib.h>
#include <conio.h>

void Bounce( void *ch );
void CheckKey( void *dummy );

/* GetRandom returns a random integer between min and max. */
#define GetRandom( min, max ) ((rand() % (int)(((max) + 1) - (min))) + (min))

BOOL repeat = TRUE;     /* Global repeat flag and video variable */
HANDLE hStdOut;         /* Handle for console window */
CONSOLE_SCREEN_BUFFER_INFO csbi;    /* Console information structure */

int main()
    CHAR    ch = 'A';

    hStdOut = GetStdHandle( STD_OUTPUT_HANDLE );

    /* Get display screen's text row and column information. */
   GetConsoleScreenBufferInfo( hStdOut, &csbi );

    /* Launch CheckKey thread to check for terminating keystroke. */
    _beginthread( CheckKey, 0, NULL );

    /* Loop until CheckKey terminates program. */
    while( repeat )
        /* On first loops, launch character threads. */
        _beginthread( Bounce, 0, (void *) (ch++)  );

        /* Wait one second between loops. */
        Sleep( 1000L );

/* CheckKey - Thread to wait for a keystroke, then clear repeat flag. */
void CheckKey( void *dummy )
    repeat = 0;    /* _endthread implied */


/* Bounce - Thread to create and and control a colored letter that moves
 * around on the screen.
 * Params: ch - the letter to be moved
void Bounce( void *ch )
    /* Generate letter and color attribute from thread argument. */
    char    blankcell = 0x20;
    char    blockcell = (char) ch;
    BOOL    first = TRUE;
   COORD   oldcoord, newcoord;
   DWORD   result;

    /* Seed random number generator and get initial location. */
    srand( _threadid );
    newcoord.X = GetRandom( 0, csbi.dwSize.X - 1 );
    newcoord.Y = GetRandom( 0, csbi.dwSize.Y - 1 );
    while( repeat )
        /* Pause between loops. */
        Sleep( 100L );

        /* Blank out our old position on the screen, and draw new letter. */
        if( first )
            first = FALSE;
         WriteConsoleOutputCharacter( hStdOut, &blankcell, 1, oldcoord, &result );
         WriteConsoleOutputCharacter( hStdOut, &blockcell, 1, newcoord, &result );

        /* Increment the coordinate for next placement of the block. */
        oldcoord.X = newcoord.X;
        oldcoord.Y = newcoord.Y;
        newcoord.X += GetRandom( -1, 1 );
        newcoord.Y += GetRandom( -1, 1 );

        /* Correct placement (and beep) if about to go off the screen. */
        if( newcoord.X < 0 )
            newcoord.X = 1;
        else if( newcoord.X == csbi.dwSize.X )
            newcoord.X = csbi.dwSize.X - 2;
        else if( newcoord.Y < 0 )
            newcoord.Y = 1;
        else if( newcoord.Y == csbi.dwSize.Y )
            newcoord.Y = csbi.dwSize.Y - 2;

        /* If not at a screen border, continue, otherwise beep. */
        Beep( ((char) ch - 'A') * 100, 175 );
    /* _endthread given to terminate */
  press any key to end

The following sample code demonstrates how you can use the thread handle returned by _beginthreadex with the synchronization API WaitForSingleObject. The main thread waits for the second thread to terminate before it continues. When the second thread calls _endthreadex, it causes its thread object to go to the signaled state. This allows the primary thread to continue running. This cannot be done with _beginthread and _endthread, because _endthread calls CloseHandle, destroying the thread object before it can be set to the signaled state.

// crt_begthrdex.cpp
// compile with: /MT
#include <windows.h>
#include <stdio.h>
#include <process.h>

unsigned Counter; 
unsigned __stdcall SecondThreadFunc( void* pArguments )
    printf( "In second thread...\n" );

    while ( Counter < 1000000 )

    _endthreadex( 0 );
    return 0;

int main()
    HANDLE hThread;
    unsigned threadID;

    printf( "Creating second thread...\n" );

    // Create the second thread.
    hThread = (HANDLE)_beginthreadex( NULL, 0, &SecondThreadFunc, NULL, 0, &threadID );

    // Wait until second thread terminates. If you comment out the line
    // below, Counter will not be correct because the thread has not
    // terminated, and Counter most likely has not been incremented to
    // 1000000 yet.
    WaitForSingleObject( hThread, INFINITE );
    printf( "Counter should be 1000000; it is-> %d\n", Counter );
    // Destroy the thread object.
    CloseHandle( hThread );
Creating second thread...
In second thread...
Counter should be 1000000; it is-> 1000000

.NET Framework Equivalent


See Also


Process and Environment Control

_endthread, _endthreadex


exit, _exit