Interprocess communication for Windows in C# (.NET 2.0)


I've never had to do IPC on Windows before. Currently I'm developing a pair of programs, a standard GUI/CLI app and a windows service. The app has to tell the service what to do. So, assuming the communication is local only, what would be the best communication method for these two processes?

Where best is defined as more robust and less error prone, not the most performant nor the easiest to code.

Code examples will be very welcome, but aren't required :-)

Note I'm asking about what to use, a standard TCP socket, named pipes, or some other means of communication only.


9/8/2008 5:00:00 PM

Accepted Answer

IPC in .Net can be achieved using:


using named pipes requires .Net 3.0 and above.

Code example


The original IPC framework released with .Net 1.0. I believe remoting is no longer being actively developed, and you are encouraged to use WCF instead

Code example

Inter-process communication via Remoting - uses a tcp channel


Win32 RPC using csharptest-net RpcLibrary

I came across a project recently that has wrapped the Win32 RPC library and created a .net class library that can be used for local and remote RPC

Project home page:

MSDN references:

Also has a google protocol buffers rpc client that runs on top of the library:


For completeness it's also possible to use the WIN32 method with the WM_COPYDATA message. I've used this method before in .Net 1.1 to create a single instance application opening multiple files from windows explorer.



Using a custom protocol (harder)

10/2/2013 8:07:13 AM

For local only, we have had success using Named Pipes. Avoids the overhead of TCP, and is pretty much (at least for .NET) as efficient as you can get while also having a decent API to work with.

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