ExitProcess function (processthreadsapi.h)

Ends the calling process and all its threads.


void ExitProcess(
  [in] UINT uExitCode


[in] uExitCode

The exit code for the process and all threads.

Return value



Use the GetExitCodeProcess function to retrieve the process's exit value. Use the GetExitCodeThread function to retrieve a thread's exit value.

Exiting a process causes the following:

  1. All of the threads in the process, except the calling thread, terminate their execution without receiving a DLL_THREAD_DETACH notification.
  2. The states of all of the threads terminated in step 1 become signaled.
  3. The entry-point functions of all loaded dynamic-link libraries (DLLs) are called with DLL_PROCESS_DETACH.
  4. After all attached DLLs have executed any process termination code, the ExitProcess function terminates the current process, including the calling thread.
  5. The state of the calling thread becomes signaled.
  6. All of the object handles opened by the process are closed.
  7. The termination status of the process changes from STILL_ACTIVE to the exit value of the process.
  8. The state of the process object becomes signaled, satisfying any threads that had been waiting for the process to terminate.
If one of the terminated threads in the process holds a lock and the DLL detach code in one of the loaded DLLs attempts to acquire the same lock, then calling ExitProcess results in a deadlock. In contrast, if a process terminates by calling TerminateProcess, the DLLs that the process is attached to are not notified of the process termination. Therefore, if you do not know the state of all threads in your process, it is better to call TerminateProcess than ExitProcess. Note that returning from the main function of an application results in a call to ExitProcess.

Calling ExitProcess in a DLL can lead to unexpected application or system errors. Be sure to call ExitProcess from a DLL only if you know which applications or system components will load the DLL and that it is safe to call ExitProcess in this context.

Exiting a process does not cause child processes to be terminated.

Exiting a process does not necessarily remove the process object from the operating system. A process object is deleted when the last handle to the process is closed.


For an example, see Creating a Child Process with Redirected Input and Output.


Requirement Value
Minimum supported client Windows XP [desktop apps only]
Minimum supported server Windows Server 2003 [desktop apps only]
Target Platform Windows
Header processthreadsapi.h (include Windows.h on Windows Server 2003, Windows Vista, Windows 7, Windows Server 2008 Windows Server 2008 R2)
Library Kernel32.lib
DLL Kernel32.dll

See also








Process and Thread Functions



Terminating a Process