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How to Execute a Command in C# ?

, 12 May 2008 CPOL
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This article will help you to execute a command in C#, just like we execute a command using the Windows command prompt

Introduction

It is normal practice to open the Windows command prompt and execute commands. The command when executed shows the result onto the screen. There are many commands that we execute daily such as dir, find, etc. A situation may arise when you want to execute a (shell) command from the C# application.

Don't worry!!! Here is the code to do so…

Using the Code

The code given below creates a process i.e. a command process and then invokes the command that we want to execute. The result of the command is stored in a string variable, which can then be used for further reference. The command execution can happen in two ways, synchronously and asynchronously. In the asynchronous command execution, we just invoke the command execution using a thread that runs independently. The code has enough comments, hence making it self-explanatory.

Below is the code to execute the command synchronously:

/// <span class="code-SummaryComment"><summary></span>
/// Executes a shell command synchronously.
/// <span class="code-SummaryComment"></summary></span>
/// <span class="code-SummaryComment"><param name="command">string command</param></span>
/// <span class="code-SummaryComment"><returns>string, as output of the command.</returns></span>
public void ExecuteCommandSync(object command)
{
     try
     {
         // create the ProcessStartInfo using "cmd" as the program to be run,
         // and "/c " as the parameters.
         // Incidentally, /c tells cmd that we want it to execute the command that follows,
         // and then exit.
    System.Diagnostics.ProcessStartInfo procStartInfo =
        new System.Diagnostics.ProcessStartInfo("cmd", "/c " + command);

    // The following commands are needed to redirect the standard output.
    // This means that it will be redirected to the Process.StandardOutput StreamReader.
    procStartInfo.RedirectStandardOutput = true;
    procStartInfo.UseShellExecute = false;
    // Do not create the black window.
    procStartInfo.CreateNoWindow = true;
    // Now we create a process, assign its ProcessStartInfo and start it
    System.Diagnostics.Process proc = new System.Diagnostics.Process();
    proc.StartInfo = procStartInfo;
    proc.Start();
    // Get the output into a string
    string result = proc.StandardOutput.ReadToEnd();
    // Display the command output.
    Console.WriteLine(result);
      }
      catch (Exception objException)
      {
      // Log the exception
      }
}

The above code invokes the cmd process specifying the command to be executed. The option procStartInfo.RedirectStandardOutput is set to true, since we want the output to be redirected to the StreamReader. The procStartInfo.CreateNoWindow property is set to true, as we don't want the standard black window to appear. This will execute the command silently.

Below is the code to execute the command asynchronously:

/// <span class="code-SummaryComment"><summary></span>
/// Execute the command Asynchronously.
/// <span class="code-SummaryComment"></summary></span>
/// <span class="code-SummaryComment"><param name="command">string command.</param></span>
public void ExecuteCommandAsync(string command)
{
   try
   {
    //Asynchronously start the Thread to process the Execute command request.
    Thread objThread = new Thread(new ParameterizedThreadStart(ExecuteCommandSync));
    //Make the thread as background thread.
    objThread.IsBackground = true;
    //Set the Priority of the thread.
    objThread.Priority = ThreadPriority.AboveNormal;
    //Start the thread.
    objThread.Start(command);
   }
   catch (ThreadStartException objException)
   {
    // Log the exception
   }
   catch (ThreadAbortException objException)
   {
    // Log the exception
   }
   catch (Exception objException)
   {
    // Log the exception
   }
}

If we observe carefully, the asynchronous execution of the command actually invokes the synchronous command execution method using a thread. The thread runs in the background making the command execution asynchronous in nature.

In the above execution sample, we find that there are two result sets of the command "dir". The first one appears immediately after the command and the second appears after the "Done!" statement. In this case, the first one is the synchronous execution of the command, which happens immediately and the second is the asynchronous execution of the "dir" command.

Points of Interest

I always thought of having some code that will execute my DOS commands, finally I had to build it.

You can find some more interesting stuff here.

History

  • 12th May, 2008: Initial post

License

This article, along with any associated source code and files, is licensed under The Code Project Open License (CPOL)

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About the Author

Sandeep Aparajit
Software Developer (Senior)
United States United States
Sandeep has 9+ yrs of IT experience. He is Microsoft Certified Technology Specialist and has been certified for Analyzing Requirements and Defining Microsoft .NET Solution Architectures.
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GeneralMy vote of 5 Pinmembercnndnmdfn31-Oct-10 23:28 

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