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Posted 3 Mar 2011
Licenced CPOL

C# FileStream Lock. How to wait for a file to get released and lock safely.

, 3 Mar 2011
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FileStream has Lock and Unlock methods, but no way to see if file was unlocked by another process.
Let's say we have a file - the one to be used with multiple processes.

I start with an assumption that file gets Write locked to get changed. If that is not the case for you, then my approach will not work. So if it sounds reasonable for you, then see the solution.

public static void Lock(string path, Action<FileStream> action)
    var autoResetEvent = new AutoResetEvent(false);

            using (var file = File.Open(path,
        catch (IOException)
            var fileSystemWatcher =
                new FileSystemWatcher(Path.GetDirectoryName(path))
                            EnableRaisingEvents = true

            fileSystemWatcher.Changed +=
                (o, e) =>
                        if(Path.GetFullPath(e.FullPath) == Path.GetFullPath(path))


So as you can see, we do an infinite loop which exits only on non IOException or when the block finishes successfully.

To wait and not consume 100% CPU AutoResetEvent which gets Set by FileSystemWatcher.Changed event.

So the flow looks like that:

1) We try to open the file
2) If we have an IOException, we wait until the file gets changed
3) We try to open file again, if failed - wait again
4) If file opened successfully, we perform an action passed as a parameter

You should carefully handle IOException inside your action. See the example:

        (f) =>
                    f.Write(buf, 0, buf.Length);
                catch(IOException ioe)
// handle IOException

If you have any ideas on how to improve the solution, feel free to comment.


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


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Comments and Discussions

Questiondeadlock? Pin
murx26-Oct-15 12:18
membermurx26-Oct-15 12:18 
GeneralGreat code! Pin
Mladen Stanisic23-Oct-14 9:58
memberMladen Stanisic23-Oct-14 9:58 
QuestionI modify your code slightly to fit my needs. Code provided... Pin
Eric Ouellet19-Oct-12 7:00
professionalEric Ouellet19-Oct-12 7:00 
GeneralMy vote of 5 Pin
Eric Ouellet19-Oct-12 6:50
professionalEric Ouellet19-Oct-12 6:50 
GeneralI agree, maybe adding a TimeSpan MaxWaitTime in order to all... Pin
hoernchenmeister23-Mar-11 5:21
memberhoernchenmeister23-Mar-11 5:21 
GeneralWhile(true) is never a good practise in my opinion. Pin
JV99993-Mar-11 23:17
professionalJV99993-Mar-11 23:17 
GeneralFYI Pin
Johnny J.6-Mar-11 21:32
professionalJohnny J.6-Mar-11 21:32 

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