ACC: How to Wait for a Shelled Process to Finish

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Article ID: 99940 - View products that this article applies to.
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Advanced: Requires expert coding, interoperability, and multiuser skills.

When you are using the Shell() function or the RunApp macro action to run another program or process, Microsoft Access does not wait for the shelled process to finish before processing the next line in the macro or function. This causes problems for macros and functions whose subsequent actions depend on the results of the shelled process.

This article demonstrates a Microsoft Access function called WaitShell() that, given an application name or process to run, starts the process and waits for it to terminate.


The following Microsoft Access function, WaitShell(), uses GetModuleUsage(), a Microsoft Windows API function, to determine if the shelled process has terminated. The Shell() function, if it successfully starts the process, returns a handle to the process module. If the process is no longer running, the handle is invalid and the GetModuleUsage() function returns a value of 0. The WaitShell() function simply loops until the module is no longer valid.

NOTE: You may have the following GetModuleUsage() Windows API function defined in an existing Microsoft Access library. If you receive a duplicate procedure name error message, delete the Declare statement from your code.
   Option Explicit
   Declare Function GetModuleUsage% Lib "Kernel" (ByVal hModule%)

   Function WaitShell( AppName as String)
      Dim hMod as Integer
      hMod = Shell(AppName, 1)
      If (Abs(hMod) > 32) then
         While (GetModuleUsage(hMod))
         MsgBox "Unable to start " & AppName
      End If
   End Function

   To test the function, create and run the following Microsoft Access


      Macro Actions
         Function Name: =WaitShell("")
         Message: Done!


   run the following Microsoft Access function:

      Function TestWaitShell()
         MsgBox "Done!"
      End Function

Both examples above start instances of the MS-DOS prompt, which remain until you terminate them by typing "exit" (without the quotations marks) at the command line and pressing ENTER.


For more information about using the Shell function in Microsoft Access 7.0 and 97, please see the following article in the Microsoft Knowledge Base:
178116 How to Determine When a Shelled Process Ends

Microsoft Windows "Programmer's Reference, Volume 2: Functions," version 3.1, pages 403-404


Article ID: 99940 - Last Review: May 9, 2003 - Revision: 2.0
  • Microsoft Access 1.0 Standard Edition
  • Microsoft Access 1.1 Standard Edition
  • Microsoft Access 2.0 Standard Edition
kbhowto kbinterop kbprogramming KB99940
Retired KB Content Disclaimer
This article was written about products for which Microsoft no longer offers support. Therefore, this article is offered "as is" and will no longer be updated.

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