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ReadConsoleInput function

Reads data from a console input buffer and removes it from the buffer.


BOOL WINAPI ReadConsoleInput(
  _In_  HANDLE        hConsoleInput,
  _Out_ PINPUT_RECORD lpBuffer,
  _In_  DWORD         nLength,
  _Out_ LPDWORD       lpNumberOfEventsRead


hConsoleInput [in]

A handle to the console input buffer. The handle must have the GENERIC_READ access right. For more information, see Console Buffer Security and Access Rights.

lpBuffer [out]

A pointer to an array of INPUT_RECORD structures that receives the input buffer data.

The storage for this buffer is allocated from a shared heap for the process that is 64 KB in size. The maximum size of the buffer will depend on heap usage.

nLength [in]

The size of the array pointed to by the lpBuffer parameter, in array elements.

lpNumberOfEventsRead [out]

A pointer to a variable that receives the number of input records read.

Return value

If the function succeeds, the return value is nonzero.

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


If the number of records requested in the nLength parameter exceeds the number of records available in the buffer, the number available is read. The function does not return until at least one input record has been read.

A process can specify a console input buffer handle in one of the wait functions to determine when there is unread console input. When the input buffer is not empty, the state of a console input buffer handle is signaled.

To determine the number of unread input records in a console's input buffer, use the GetNumberOfConsoleInputEvents function. To read input records from a console input buffer without affecting the number of unread records, use the PeekConsoleInput function. To discard all unread records in a console's input buffer, use the FlushConsoleInputBuffer function.

This function uses either Unicode characters or 8-bit characters from the console's current code page. The console's code page defaults initially to the system's OEM code page. To change the console's code page, use the SetConsoleCP or SetConsoleOutputCP functions, or use the chcp or mode con cp select= commands.


For an example, see Reading Input Buffer Events.


Minimum supported client

Windows 2000 Professional [desktop apps | UWP apps]

Minimum supported server

Windows 2000 Server [desktop apps | UWP apps]


Wincon.h (include Windows.h)





Unicode and ANSI names

ReadConsoleInputW (Unicode) and ReadConsoleInputA (ANSI)

See also

Console Functions
Low-Level Console Input Functions