SetTimer function (winuser.h)

Creates a timer with the specified time-out value.


UINT_PTR SetTimer(
  [in, optional] HWND      hWnd,
  [in]           UINT_PTR  nIDEvent,
  [in]           UINT      uElapse,
  [in, optional] TIMERPROC lpTimerFunc


[in, optional] hWnd

Type: HWND

A handle to the window to be associated with the timer. This window must be owned by the calling thread. If a NULL value for hWnd is passed in along with an nIDEvent of an existing timer, that timer will be replaced in the same way that an existing non-NULL hWnd timer will be.

[in] nIDEvent


A nonzero timer identifier. If the hWnd parameter is NULL, and the nIDEvent does not match an existing timer then it is ignored and a new timer ID is generated. If the hWnd parameter is not NULL and the window specified by hWnd already has a timer with the value nIDEvent, then the existing timer is replaced by the new timer. When SetTimer replaces a timer, the timer is reset. Therefore, a message will be sent after the current time-out value elapses, but the previously set time-out value is ignored. If the call is not intended to replace an existing timer, nIDEvent should be 0 if the hWnd is NULL.

[in] uElapse

Type: UINT

The time-out value, in milliseconds.

If uElapse is less than USER_TIMER_MINIMUM (0x0000000A), the timeout is set to USER_TIMER_MINIMUM. If uElapse is greater than USER_TIMER_MAXIMUM (0x7FFFFFFF), the timeout is set to USER_TIMER_MAXIMUM.

[in, optional] lpTimerFunc


A pointer to the function to be notified when the time-out value elapses. For more information about the function, see TimerProc. If lpTimerFunc is NULL, the system posts a WM_TIMER message to the application queue. The hwnd member of the message's MSG structure contains the value of the hWnd parameter.

Return value


If the function succeeds and the hWnd parameter is NULL, the return value is an integer identifying the new timer. An application can pass this value to the KillTimer function to destroy the timer.

If the function succeeds and the hWnd parameter is not NULL, then the return value is a nonzero integer. An application can pass the value of the nIDEvent parameter to the KillTimer function to destroy the timer.

If the function fails to create a timer, the return value is zero. To get extended error information, call GetLastError.


An application can process WM_TIMER messages by including a WM_TIMER case statement in the window procedure or by specifying a TimerProc callback function when creating the timer. When you specify a TimerProc callback function, the DispatchMessage calls the callback function instead of calling the window procedure when it processes WM_TIMER with a non-NULL lParam. Therefore, you need to dispatch messages in the calling thread, even when you use TimerProc instead of processing WM_TIMER.

The wParam parameter of the WM_TIMER message contains the value of the nIDEvent parameter.

The timer identifier, nIDEvent, is specific to the associated window. Another window can have its own timer which has the same identifier as a timer owned by another window. The timers are distinct.

SetTimer can reuse timer IDs in the case where hWnd is NULL.

Before using SetTimer or other timer-related functions, it is recommended to set the UOI_TIMERPROC_EXCEPTION_SUPPRESSION flag to false through the SetUserObjectInformationW function, otherwise the application could behave unpredictably and could be vulnerable to security exploits. For more info, see SetUserObjectInformationW.


For an example, see Creating a Timer.


Requirement Value
Minimum supported client Windows 2000 Professional [desktop apps only]
Minimum supported server Windows 2000 Server [desktop apps only]
Target Platform Windows
Header winuser.h (include Windows.h)
Library User32.lib
DLL User32.dll
API set ext-ms-win-ntuser-window-l1-1-2 (introduced in Windows 10, version 10.0.10240)

See also