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OpenEvent info  Overview  Group

The OpenEvent function returns a handle of an existing named event object.

HANDLE OpenEvent(

    DWORD dwDesiredAccess,

// access flag

    BOOL bInheritHandle,

// inherit flag

    LPCTSTR lpName 

// pointer to event-object name



Specifies the requested access to the event object. For systems that support object security, the function fails if the security descriptor of the specified object does not permit the requested access for the calling process.

This parameter can be any combination of the following values:




Specifies all possible access flags for the event object.


Enables use of the event handle in the SetEvent and ResetEvent functions to modify the eventís state.


Windows NT only: Enables use of the event handle in any of the wait functions to wait for the eventís state to be signaled.

Specifies whether the returned handle is inheritable. If TRUE, a process created by the CreateProcess function can inherit the handle; otherwise, the handle cannot be inherited.
Points to a null-terminated string that names the event to be opened. Name comparisons are case sensitive.

Return Values

If the function succeeds, the return value is a handle of the event object.

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


The OpenEvent function enables multiple processes to open handles of the same event object. The function succeeds only if some process has already created the event by using the CreateEvent function. The calling process can use the returned handle in any function that requires a handle of an event object, subject to the limitations of the access specified in the dwDesiredAccess parameter.

The handle can be duplicated by using the DuplicateHandle function. Use the CloseHandle function to close the handle. The system closes the handle automatically when the process terminates. The event object is destroyed when its last handle has been closed.

See Also

CloseHandle, CreateEvent, CreateProcess, DuplicateHandle, PulseEvent, ResetEvent, SetEvent 

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