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Windows NT
Import Library
Header File
Platform Notes


The ExitThread function ends a thread.

VOID ExitThread(

DWORD dwExitCode
// exit code for this thread



Specifies the exit code for the calling thread. Use the GetExitCodeThread function to retrieve a thread's exit code.

Return Values

This function does not return a value.


is the preferred method of exiting a thread. When this function is called (either explicitly or by returning from a thread procedure), the current thread's stack is deallocated and the thread terminates. The entry-point function of all attached dynamic-link libraries (DLLs) is invoked with a value indicating that the thread is detaching from the DLL.

If the thread is the last thread in the process when this function is called, the thread's process is also terminated.

The state of the thread object becomes signaled, releasing any other threads that had been waiting for the thread to terminate. The thread's termination status changes from STILL_ACTIVE to the value of the dwExitCode parameter.

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

The ExitProcess, ExitThread, CreateThread, CreateRemoteThread functions, and a process that is starting (as the result of a CreateProcess call) are serialized between each other within a process. Only one of these events can happen in an address space at a time. This means the following restrictions hold:

  • During process startup and DLL initialization routines, new threads can be created, but they do not begin execution until DLL initialization is done for the process.

  • Only one thread in a process can be in a DLL initialization or detach routine at a time.

  • ExitProcess does not return until no threads are in their DLL initialization or detach routines.

A thread that uses functions from the C run-time libraries should use the _beginthread and _endthread C run-time functions for thread management rather than CreateThread and ExitThread. Failure to do so results in small memory leaks when ExitThread is called.

See Also

, CreateRemoteThread, CreateThread, ExitProcess, FreeLibraryAndExitThread, GetExitCodeThread, TerminateThread

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