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GetStdHandle info  Overview  Group

The GetStdHandle function returns a handle for the standard input, standard output, or standard error device.

HANDLE GetStdHandle(

    DWORD nStdHandle 

// input, output, or error device



Specifies the device for which to return the handle. This parameter can have one of the following values:




Standard input handle


Standard output handle


Standard error handle

Return Values

If the function succeeds, the return value is a handle of the specified device.

If the function fails, the return value is the INVALID_HANDLE_VALUE flag. To get extended error information, call GetLastError.


Handles returned by GetStdHandle can be used by applications that need to read from or write to the console. When a console is created, the standard input handle is a handle of the console’s input buffer, and the standard output and standard error handles are handles of the console’s active screen buffer. These handles can be used by the ReadFile and WriteFile functions, or by any of the console functions that access the console input buffer or a screen buffer (for example, the ReadConsoleInput, WriteConsole, or GetConsoleScreenBufferInfo functions).

All handles returned by this function have GENERIC_READ and GENERIC_WRITE access unless the SetStdHandle function has been used to set a standard handle to be some handle with a lesser access.

The standard handles of a process may be redirected by a call to SetStdHandle, in which case GetStdHandle returns the redirected handle. If the standard handles have been redirected, you can specify the CONIN$ value in a call to the CreateFile function to get a handle of a console’s input buffer. Similarly, you can specify the CONOUT$ value to get a handle of a console’s active screen buffer.

See Also

CreateFile, GetConsoleScreenBufferInfo, ReadConsoleInput, ReadFile, SetStdHandle, WriteConsole, WriteFile 

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