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windows-kill-library – Library to send signal to process by PID in Windows, like POSIX kill

Library to send signal to process by PID in Windows, like POSIX kill

Windows has no process signaling mechanism like what POSIX provide using the kill command. But by using windows-kill-library, process signaling is possible. :)

Why windows-kill-library?

Well, I'm a node.js developer. Node has a functionality that could send signals to other process, by their PID. This functionality works great on POSIX OSes but in Windows, no signal is supported (even SIGINT and SIGBREAK, that node stated is supported in Windows), and sending any of those signals to any process in windows, will result in an immediate kill of those process (Even if those process have listener on sent signals). In one of my project signal sending and listening was a serious need, so I've made some research about signal sending in windows, and found an OLD (2003) project named SendSignal. Well that project doesn’t support 64bit systems and also could only send SIGBREAK (Ctrl + Break) signal. More searches lead me to an enhanced version of SendSignal, that add support of 64bit systems, but only support sending SIGINT (Ctrl + C) signal. So I've decided to write a library that support both 32bit & 64bit systems, and also both SIGBREAK and SIGINT signals. The result is the windows-kill-library that has all the functionality I've needed. If you want the standalone software to send signal, please see windows-kill.


  • Support both 32bit (Win32) & 64bit (x64) Windows
  • Support both SIGBREAK (Ctrl + Break) and SIGINT (Ctrl + C) Signals
  • A library that could be used directly (#include), As a static library (.lib) and a dynamic library (.dll)

How it works?

To send the signal, at first windows-kill-library will try to find the thread address of the kernel32!CtrlRoutine, which is the handle for the SIGINT and SIGBREAK signals. To find it, at first a ctrl handler will be registered for the current application, then a ctrl-break or ctrl-c signal will be generated. After that, the registered custom ctrl handler will be called. Then using the stack trace, the parameters passed to kernel32!BaseThreadStart will be checked. The first param, which is the desired address of thread, which is the address of kernel32!CtrlRoutine, will be saved. After getting the address, a remote thread in the desired process using the discovered address will be created. After that, the ctrl handlers in the remote process will be called.


Well, as you have read above, to find the thread address responsible for the ctrl events, windows-kill-library will generate a ctrl event in the application which is trying to send the signal. By default, this procedure has no problem. Because windows-kill-library will register a handler for the ctrl events, so the generation of event will not cause the termination of application. But, if the programs have child processes in their process group, or if the program that is trying to send signal is a child process of another program (like in batch file), sending the signal will trigger the ctrl handler in all the processes in the process group, which lead to termination of all of processes except the signal sender.

P.S: I'm trying to find a solution for the problem. Currently no solution founded. I'll be happy if you can help me by giving me a solution or just a clue to find the solution. So feel free and inform me by creating new issue or sending email.

P.S-1: Warm-up is added for applications which have child processes, to call the warmUp before creating any child process. So the thread address saved before any child process created.

Usage Instruction

Prebuilt libraries

Fastest and easiest way to use the windows-kill-library is download the prebuilt libraries. You could find them in repo's Releases page. The library has been built both as a dynamic library (.dll) and static library (.lib) for both 32bit (Win32) and 64bit (x64) Windows.

Build & direct use of source code

If you want to use the source code, you must install Visual Studio plus C++ development tools first. I'm developing this project in Visual Studio 2015 update 3. So it's recommended to use the same Visual Studio version. But maybe other versions are ok to use. Also there is no configuration file for other compilers. So any contribution to add other compilers support is welcomed!

After the Visual Studio installation, clone the GitHub project or download the latest master branch source code and extract the downloaded zip. If you want to build the library, go to the project folder and open the windows-kill.sln in Visual Studio. From the build menu, click on batch build. There you could see different build configurations. For more information about build configuration see Build Configurations. Also you could include the library windows-kill-library.h in your C++ project source and use the library directly.

Usage Examples

Using the windows-kill-library is easy & straightforward. The library only has one exported method. Also two constants are exported.


This method is the only thing you should call to send the signal to process. You should give this method the signal type that is exported as constant, and the target process id (PID).

/// <summary>
/// Sends the signal.
/// </summary>
/// <param name="signal_pid">The signal target process id.</param>
/// <param name="signal_type">The signal type.</param>
void sendSignal(DWORD signal_pid, DWORD signal_type);

This method will throw an exception in case of any error. If no exception thrown, The signal has been sent successfully.

All the exception could be caught by catching std::exception. But two std::invalid_argument will be sent in case of invalid signal_type and signal_pid. Invalid signal_type exception message is EINVAL and invalid signal_pid exception message is ESRCH.

Exception handling example code

#include <stdexcept>
#include "windows-kill-library.h"

using WindowsKillLibrary::sendSignal;
using WindowsKillLibrary::SIGNAL_TYPE_CTRL_C;
using WindowsKillLibrary::SIGNAL_TYPE_CTRL_BREAK;

try {
    sendSignal(signal_pid, signal_type);
    std::cout << "Signal sent successfully. type: " << signal_type << " | pid: " << signal_pid << "\n";
catch (const std::invalid_argument& exception) {
    if (strcmp(exception.what(), "ESRCH") == 0) {
        std::cout << "Error: Pid doesn't exist." << std::endl;
    else if(strcmp(exception.what(), "EINVAL") == 0){
        std::cout << "Error: Invalid signal type." << std::endl;
    else {
        std::cout << "InvalidArgument: windows-kill-library:" << exception.what() << std::endl;
catch (const std::system_error& exception) {
    std::cout << "SystemError " << exception.code() << ": " << exception.what() << std::endl;
catch (const std::runtime_error& exception) {
    if (strcmp(exception.what(), "EPERM") == 0) {
        std::cout << "Not enough permission to send the signal." << std::endl;
    else {
        std::cout << "RuntimeError: windows-kill-library:" << exception.what() << std::endl;
catch (const std::exception& exception) {
    std::cout << "Error: windows-kill-library:" << exception.what() << std::endl;


This method, will call the ctr-routine->finAddress(), for the SIGINT and SIGBREAK signals. By default, those address will retrieve, when the send method is called. A cache is available too, so only the first time that a ctr-routine is being used, the address actually retrieve, on next calls, only the cached value will be used. Because of limitations explained above, this method is a way to overcome the issue. By calling this method on parent process, before creating any child process, the address will cached and next call will not create a self-signaling procedure to find address.

/// <summary>
/// Calls sender warm-up method.
/// </summary>
/// <param name="which">Which ctr-routine to warm-up</param>
void warmUp(const std::string& which = "ALL");


  • which: Define which ctr-routine to warm-up. Available values:
    • ALL or nothing: Warm-up all the ctr-routines
    • SIGINT: Warmup ctrl-c or SIGINT ctr-routine.
    • SIGBREAK: Warmup ctrl-break or SIGBREAK ctr-routine.


The SIGBREAK signal type.


The SIGINT signal type.


The windows-kill-library is based on:


We love contributions from everyone. Please read Contributing guide.



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