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Timer Class

Updated: May 2010

Generates recurring events in an application.

Namespace:  System.Timers
Assembly:  System (in System.dll)

[HostProtectionAttribute(SecurityAction.LinkDemand, Synchronization = true, 
	ExternalThreading = true)]
public class Timer : Component, ISupportInitialize

NoteNote:

The HostProtectionAttribute attribute applied to this type or member has the following Resources property value: Synchronization | ExternalThreading. The HostProtectionAttribute does not affect desktop applications (which are typically started by double-clicking an icon, typing a command, or entering a URL in a browser). For more information, see the HostProtectionAttribute class or SQL Server Programming and Host Protection Attributes.

The Timer component is a server-based timer, which allows you to specify a recurring interval at which the Elapsed event is raised in your application. You can then handle this event to provide regular processing. For example, suppose you have a critical server that must be kept running 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. You could create a service that uses a Timer to periodically check the server and ensure that the system is up and running. If the system is not responding, the service could attempt to restart the server or notify an administrator.

The server-based Timer is designed for use with worker threads in a multithreaded environment. Server timers can move among threads to handle the raised Elapsed event, resulting in more accuracy than Windows timers in raising the event on time. For more information on server-based timers, see Introduction to Server-Based Timers.

The Timer component raises the Elapsed event, based on the value of the Interval property. You can handle this event to perform the processing you need. For example, suppose that you have an online sales application that continuously posts sales orders to a database. The service that compiles the instructions for shipping operates on a batch of orders rather than processing each order individually. You could use a Timer to start the batch processing every 30 minutes.

NoteNote:

When AutoReset is set to false, the Timer raises the Elapsed event only once, after the first Interval has elapsed. To keep raising the Elapsed event on the Interval, set AutoReset to true.

In the .NET Framework version 2.0 and earlier, the Timer component catches and suppresses all exceptions thrown by event handlers for the Elapsed event. This behavior is subject to change in future releases of the .NET Framework.

If the SynchronizingObject property is null, the Elapsed event is raised on a ThreadPool thread. If processing of the Elapsed event lasts longer than Interval, the event might be raised again on another ThreadPool thread. In this situation, the event handler should be reentrant.

NoteNote:

The event-handling method might run on one thread at the same time that another thread calls the Stop method or sets the Enabled property to false. This might result in the Elapsed event being raised after the timer is stopped. The example code for the Stop method shows one way to avoid this race condition.

Even if SynchronizingObject is not null, Elapsed events can occur after the Dispose or Stop method has been called or after the Enabled property has been set to false, because the signal to raise the Elapsed event is always queued for execution on a thread pool thread. One way to resolve this race condition is to set a flag that tells the event handler for the Elapsed event to ignore subsequent events.

If you use the Timer with a user interface element, such as a form or control, without placing the timer on that user interface element, assign the form or control that contains the Timer to the SynchronizingObject property, so that the event is marshaled to the user interface thread.

The Timer is not visible at run time.

For a list of initial property values for an instance of Timer, see the Timer constructor.

The following code example sets up an event handler for the Timer.Elapsed event, creates a timer, and starts the timer. The event handler displays the SignalTime property each time it is raised.

NoteNote:

The code contains declarations of the timer variable at the class level and inside Main. To see how aggressive garbage collection can affect a timer that is declared inside a long-running method, you can comment out the class-level declaration and uncomment the local variable. To keep the timer from being collected, uncomment the GC.KeepAlive method at the end of Main.

using System;
using System.Timers;

public class Timer1
{
    private static System.Timers.Timer aTimer;

    public static void Main()
    {
        // Normally, the timer is declared at the class level, 
        // so that it stays in scope as long as it is needed. 
        // If the timer is declared in a long-running method,   
        // KeepAlive must be used to prevent the JIT compiler  
        // from allowing aggressive garbage collection to occur  
        // before the method ends. You can experiment with this 
        // by commenting out the class-level declaration and  
        // uncommenting the declaration below; then uncomment 
        // the GC.KeepAlive(aTimer) at the end of the method. 
        //System.Timers.Timer aTimer; 

        // Create a timer with a ten second interval.
        aTimer = new System.Timers.Timer(10000);

        // Hook up the Elapsed event for the timer.
        aTimer.Elapsed += new ElapsedEventHandler(OnTimedEvent);

        // Set the Interval to 2 seconds (2000 milliseconds).
        aTimer.Interval = 2000;
        aTimer.Enabled = true;

        Console.WriteLine("Press the Enter key to exit the program.");
        Console.ReadLine();

        // If the timer is declared in a long-running method, use 
        // KeepAlive to prevent garbage collection from occurring 
        // before the method ends. 
        //GC.KeepAlive(aTimer);
    }

    // Specify what you want to happen when the Elapsed event is  
    // raised. 
    private static void OnTimedEvent(object source, ElapsedEventArgs e)
    {
        Console.WriteLine("The Elapsed event was raised at {0}", e.SignalTime);
    }
}

/* This code example produces output similar to the following:

Press the Enter key to exit the program.
The Elapsed event was raised at 5/20/2007 8:42:27 PM
The Elapsed event was raised at 5/20/2007 8:42:29 PM
The Elapsed event was raised at 5/20/2007 8:42:31 PM
...
 */

Any public static members of this type are thread safe. Any instance members are not guaranteed to be thread safe.

Windows 7, Windows Vista, Windows XP SP2, Windows XP Media Center Edition, Windows XP Professional x64 Edition, Windows XP Starter Edition, Windows Server 2008 R2, Windows Server 2008, Windows Server 2003, Windows Server 2000 SP4, Windows Millennium Edition, Windows 98

The .NET Framework and .NET Compact Framework do not support all versions of every platform. For a list of the supported versions, see .NET Framework System Requirements.

.NET Framework

Supported in: 3.5, 3.0, 2.0, 1.1, 1.0

Date

History

Reason

May 2010

Corrected an error in the previous update.

Content bug fix.

January 2010

Explained why Elapsed events can occur after Dispose has been called.

Customer feedback.

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