Cancelling a Windows Runtime asynchronous operation, part 5: C++/WinRT

Raymond Chen

Last time, we looked at how task cancellation is projected in C++/CX with PPL and co_await with IAsyncAction^ and IAsyncOperation^ objects. Our next investigation is C++/WinRT.

FileOpenPicker openPicker;
auto pickerOp = openPicker.PickSingleFileAsync();
([](auto op) -> fire_and_forget { co_await resume_after(3s); op.Cancel(); })(pickerOp);

StorageFile file{ nullptr };
    file = co_await pickerOp;
catch (hresult_canceled const&)
    file = nullptr;
catch (hresult_illegal_method_call const&)
    file = nullptr;

if (file != nullptr)

Canceling the operation after a delay is slightly tricky because we need to pass the pickerOp as a parameter to a captureless lambda, rather than capturing it into the lambda. We discussed the reason for this some time ago.

The exception that comes out of awaiting for a canceled task is sometimes an hresult_canceled, and sometimes an hresult_illegal_method_call. The reason is that C++/WinRT defers to the IAsyncAction/IAsyncOperation to decide what exception to raise.¹

In other words, C++/WinRT just takes the ABI result and propagates it. It doesn’t try to impose its will upon the result.

You can see this in the await_resume for asynchronous operations:

template <typename Async>
struct await_adapter

    auto await_resume() const
        return async.GetResults();

Whatever exception comes out of Get­Results() is the exception that comes out of the co_await.

Next time, we’ll look at what happens if the IAsyncAction or IAsyncOperation was implemented by the C++/WinRT library itself.

Bonus chatter: This entire article is already obsolete. We’ll learn more about it when this series wraps up.

¹ Therefore, in principle, it could be utterly anything since it’s up to the ABI to generate the HRESULT that turns into an exception at the projection.


Discussion is closed. Login to edit/delete existing comments.

  • cheong00 0

    While we’re on the topic with WinRT, I wonder if “removal of built-in WinRT support of .NET 5” will have impact on C++/WinRT or there will be another project to support it.

    • Max Strini 0

      C++/WinRT doesn’t use .NET at all – it’s a C++ library – so changes to .NET shouldn’t affect it.

      • cheong00 0

        Okay, I mixed it up.

        I saw C++/WinRT is for writing UWP and always thought it is a .NET technology.

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