Async process start and wait for it to finish


I am new to the thread model in .net. What would you use to:

  1. start a process that handles a file (process.StartInfo.FileName = fileName;)
  2. wait for the user to close the process OR abandon the thread after some time
  3. if the user closed the process, delete the file

Starting the process and waiting should be done on a different thread than the main thread, because this operation should not affect the application.


My application produces an html report. The user can right click somewhere and say "View Report" - now I retrieve the report contents in a temporary file and launch the process that handles html files i.e. the default browser. The problem is that I cannot cleanup, i.e. delete the temp file.

3/4/2009 3:54:01 PM

Accepted Answer

"and waiting must be async" - I'm not trying to be funny, but isn't that a contradiction in terms? However, since you are starting a Process, the Exited event may help:

ProcessStartInfo startInfo = null;
Process process = Process.Start(startInfo);
process.EnableRaisingEvents = true;
process.Exited += delegate {/* clean up*/};

If you want to actually wait (timeout etc), then:

if(process.WaitForExit(timeout)) {
    // user exited
} else {
    // timeout (perhaps process.Kill();)

For waiting async, perhaps just use a different thread?

ThreadPool.QueueUserWorkItem(delegate {
    Process process = Process.Start(startInfo);
    if(process.WaitForExit(timeout)) {
        // user exited
    } else {
        // timeout
11/11/2015 5:16:14 PM

Adding an advanced alternative to this old question. If you want to wait for a process to exit without blocking any thread and still support timeouts, try the following:

    public static Task<bool> WaitForExitAsync(this Process process, TimeSpan timeout)
        ManualResetEvent processWaitObject = new ManualResetEvent(false);
        processWaitObject.SafeWaitHandle = new SafeWaitHandle(process.Handle, false);

        TaskCompletionSource<bool> tcs = new TaskCompletionSource<bool>();

        RegisteredWaitHandle registeredProcessWaitHandle = null;
        registeredProcessWaitHandle = ThreadPool.RegisterWaitForSingleObject(
            delegate(object state, bool timedOut)
                if (!timedOut)

            null /* state */,
            true /* executeOnlyOnce */);

        return tcs.Task;

Again, the advantage to this approach compared to the accepted answer is that you're not blocking any threads, which reduces the overhead of your app.

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