Invalid thread and process IDs

Raymond Chen


Perhaps you want a value to use as a sentinel, which you want to be guaranteed is never a valid thread ID or process ID. What values can you use? Nothing is explicitly written about this topic, but you can put on your logic cap and figure it out. If you need an invalid thread ID, you can use zero. How do you know that zero is an invalid thread ID? It’s implied by SetWindowsHookEx: Notice that if you pass zero, then the hook is installed into all threads on the current desktop. This implies that zero is not itself a valid thread ID. This sentinel value is confirmed by GetThreadID, which uses zero as its error return value. Similarly, if you need an invalid process ID, you can use (DWORD)-1. This comes from AllowSetForegroundWindow: The value ASFW_ANY has special meaning, which implies that it is never a valid process ID.

Or, you can use zero as your invalid process ID, since that is the error value returned by GetProcessId and GetProcessIdOfThread.


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