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How To List Running Processes

This article was previously published under Q187913
This article has been archived. It is offered "as is" and will no longer be updated.
This article illustrates how you can list the processes that are currentlyrunning on a computer. The approach is different for Windows 95/98 andWindows NT; this article illustrates both solutions.
This situation requires that you first test to see which version of Windowsis in use. Once that determination is made, the correct code can then berun to examine and list the current processes. On Windows NT, requests forinformation on some system processes may be denied for security or otherrelated reasons. The approach taken in this article will ignore any processthat cannot be accessed.

PSAPI.DLL is the library used to gather process information on Windows NTand must reside in the \SYSTEM32 directory. There are two versions of thisfile, 3.51 and 4.0. Either version will work for this example, but usingthe most recent version is recommended. If you have installed the WindowsNT 4.0 Resource Kit or the Windows NT 4.0 SDK, this file will be present onyour computer. The 4.0 version of the file is available on the VisualStudio Visual C++ CD-ROM in the following directory:

The 3.51 version of the file is available on the Visual Studio Visual BasicCD-ROM in the directory:

Step-by-Step Example

  1. Create a new Standard Exe project in Visual Basic. Form1 is created by default.
  2. Add a CommandButton to Form1.
  3. Add a ListBox to Form1.
  4. Copy the following code to Form1:
          Option Explicit      Private Sub Command1_Click()      List1.Clear      Select Case getVersion()      Case 1 'Windows 95/98         Dim f As Long, sname As String         Dim hSnap As Long, proc As PROCESSENTRY32         hSnap = CreateToolhelp32Snapshot(TH32CS_SNAPPROCESS, 0)         If hSnap = hNull Then Exit Sub         proc.dwSize = Len(proc)         ' Iterate through the processes         f = Process32First(hSnap, proc)         Do While f           sname = StrZToStr(proc.szExeFile)           List1.AddItem sname           f = Process32Next(hSnap, proc)         Loop      Case 2 'Windows NT         Dim cb As Long         Dim cbNeeded As Long         Dim NumElements As Long         Dim ProcessIDs() As Long         Dim cbNeeded2 As Long         Dim NumElements2 As Long         Dim Modules(1 To 200) As Long         Dim lRet As Long         Dim ModuleName As String         Dim nSize As Long         Dim hProcess As Long         Dim i As Long         'Get the array containing the process id's for each process object         cb = 8         cbNeeded = 96         Do While cb <= cbNeeded            cb = cb * 2            ReDim ProcessIDs(cb / 4) As Long            lRet = EnumProcesses(ProcessIDs(1), cb, cbNeeded)         Loop         NumElements = cbNeeded / 4         For i = 1 To NumElements            'Get a handle to the Process            hProcess = OpenProcess(PROCESS_QUERY_INFORMATION _               Or PROCESS_VM_READ, 0, ProcessIDs(i))            'Got a Process handle            If hProcess <> 0 Then                'Get an array of the module handles for the specified                'process                lRet = EnumProcessModules(hProcess, Modules(1), 200, _                                             cbNeeded2)                'If the Module Array is retrieved, Get the ModuleFileName                If lRet <> 0 Then                   ModuleName = Space(MAX_PATH)                   nSize = 500                   lRet = GetModuleFileNameExA(hProcess, Modules(1), _                                   ModuleName, nSize)                   List1.AddItem Left(ModuleName, lRet)                End If            End If          'Close the handle to the process         lRet = CloseHandle(hProcess)         Next      End Select      End Sub						
  5. Add a Standard Module to the Project. Module1 is created.
  6. Paste the following code into Module1.
          Public Declare Function Process32First Lib "kernel32" ( _         ByVal hSnapshot As Long, lppe As PROCESSENTRY32) As Long      Public Declare Function Process32Next Lib "kernel32" ( _         ByVal hSnapshot As Long, lppe As PROCESSENTRY32) As Long      Public Declare Function CloseHandle Lib "Kernel32.dll" _         (ByVal Handle As Long) As Long      Public Declare Function OpenProcess Lib "Kernel32.dll" _        (ByVal dwDesiredAccessas As Long, ByVal bInheritHandle As Long, _            ByVal dwProcId As Long) As Long      Public Declare Function EnumProcesses Lib "psapi.dll" _         (ByRef lpidProcess As Long, ByVal cb As Long, _            ByRef cbNeeded As Long) As Long      Public Declare Function GetModuleFileNameExA Lib "psapi.dll" _         (ByVal hProcess As Long, ByVal hModule As Long, _            ByVal ModuleName As String, ByVal nSize As Long) As Long      Public Declare Function EnumProcessModules Lib "psapi.dll" _         (ByVal hProcess As Long, ByRef lphModule As Long, _            ByVal cb As Long, ByRef cbNeeded As Long) As Long      Public Declare Function CreateToolhelp32Snapshot Lib "kernel32" ( _         ByVal dwFlags As Long, ByVal th32ProcessID As Long) As Long      Public Declare Function GetVersionExA Lib "kernel32" _         (lpVersionInformation As OSVERSIONINFO) As Integer      Public Type PROCESSENTRY32         dwSize As Long         cntUsage As Long         th32ProcessID As Long           ' This process         th32DefaultHeapID As Long         th32ModuleID As Long            ' Associated exe         cntThreads As Long         th32ParentProcessID As Long     ' This process's parent process         pcPriClassBase As Long          ' Base priority of process threads         dwFlags As Long         szExeFile As String * 260       ' MAX_PATH      End Type      Public Type OSVERSIONINFO         dwOSVersionInfoSize As Long         dwMajorVersion As Long         dwMinorVersion As Long         dwBuildNumber As Long         dwPlatformId As Long           '1 = Windows 95.                                        '2 = Windows NT         szCSDVersion As String * 128      End Type      Public Const PROCESS_QUERY_INFORMATION = 1024      Public Const PROCESS_VM_READ = 16      Public Const MAX_PATH = 260      Public Const STANDARD_RIGHTS_REQUIRED = &HF0000      Public Const SYNCHRONIZE = &H100000      'STANDARD_RIGHTS_REQUIRED Or SYNCHRONIZE Or &HFFF      Public Const PROCESS_ALL_ACCESS = &H1F0FFF      Public Const TH32CS_SNAPPROCESS = &H2&      Public Const hNull = 0      Function StrZToStr(s As String) As String         StrZToStr = Left$(s, Len(s) - 1)      End Function      Public Function getVersion() As Long         Dim osinfo As OSVERSIONINFO         Dim retvalue As Integer         osinfo.dwOSVersionInfoSize = 148         osinfo.szCSDVersion = Space$(128)         retvalue = GetVersionExA(osinfo)         getVersion = osinfo.dwPlatformId      End Function						
  7. Run the project and click the Command button on Form1. You should see a listing of the currently running processes.
  8. If you are running Windows 95/98, try running the example project on Windows NT or vice versa. The processes should be listed regardless of operating system version.
Portions of the code in this article were adapted from "Hardcore VisualBasic" Second Edition by Bruce McKinney - Microsoft Press

For additional information on the GetVersionExA API, please see thefollowing article in the Microsoft Knowledge Base:
189249 : How To Determine Which 32-bit Operating System Is Being Used

For additional information on using PSAPI.DLL, please see the MicrosoftSystems Journal "Under the Hood" column by Matt Pietrek (August 1996 andNovember 1996)
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Article ID: 187913 - Last Review: 12/05/2015 08:49:05 - Revision: 1.2

Microsoft Visual Basic 5.0 Professional Edition, Microsoft Visual Basic 6.0 Professional Edition, Microsoft Visual Basic 5.0 Enterprise Edition, Microsoft Visual Basic 6.0 Enterprise Edition

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