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CryptReleaseContext info  Overview  Group

The CryptReleaseContext function is used to release a handle to a CSP and a key container.

This should be performed when the application is finished using the CSP. Once this function is called, the CSP handle specified by the hProv parameter will no longer be valid. Neither the key container nor any key pairs are destroyed by this function.

BOOL CRYPTFUNC CryptReleaseContext(


    DWORD dwFlags



[in] A handle to the application’s CSP. This is the handle the application obtained using the CryptAcquireContext function.
[in] The flag values. This parameter is reserved for future use and should always be zero.


Once this function has been called, the “session” is over, and all existing session keys and hash objects that were created using the hProv handle become invalid. In practice, all of these objects should be destroyed (with the CryptDestroyKey and CryptDestroyHash functions) before the CryptReleaseContext function is called.

Return Values

If the function succeeds, the return value is nonzero.

If the function fails, the return value is zero. To retrieve extended error information, use the GetLastError function.

The following table lists the error codes most commonly returned by the GetLastError function. The error codes prefaced by “NTE” are generated by the particular CSP you are using.




The CSP context specified by hProv is currently being used by another process.


One of the parameters specifies an invalid handle.


One of the parameters contains an invalid value. This is most often an illegal pointer.


The dwFlags parameter is nonzero.


The hProv parameter does not contain a valid context handle.


See the “Example” section in the CryptAcquireContext function.

See Also

CryptAcquireContext, CryptDestroyKey and CryptDestroyHash 

See also:

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