If only DLLs can get DllMain notifications, how can an EXE receive a notification when a thread is created (for example)?

Raymond Chen


When a DLL is loaded, it receives a
DLL_PROCESS_ATTACH notification,
and when it is unloaded (or when the process terminates),
it gets a
DLL_PROCESS_DETACH notification.
DLLs also receive
DLL_THREAD_ATTACH notifications
when a thread is created and
DLL_THREAD_DETACH notifications
when a thread exits.
But what if you are an EXE?
EXEs don’t have a Dll­Main,
so there is no way to receive these notifications.

The trick here is to hire a lackey.

Create a helper DLL, called, say, LACKEY.DLL.
Your EXE links to the lackey,
and the lackey’s job is to forward all
Dll­Main notifications back to your EXE.
The DLL would naturally have to have a way for your EXE
to provide the callback address,
you might have a function

LACKEYNOTIFICATION g_lackeyNotification;
void RegisterLackeyCallback(LACKEYNOTIFICATION lackeyNotification)
 g_lackeyNotification = lackeyNotification;
    HINSTANCE hinstDLL, DWORD dwReason, LPVOID lpReserved)
 if (g_lackeyNotification) g_lackeyNotification(dwReason);
 return TRUE;

Of course, it is rather extravagant to hire a lackey just for
this one task,
so you will probably just add lackey responsibilities to
some other DLL you’ve written.

I don’t know if there’s a name for this design pattern,
so I’m just going to call it the hired lackey pattern.


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