Using Timers in a C# Windows Service

For the most part, writing a windows service in Visual Studio.net is only marginally different than writing a windows application.  You may have difficulty attempting to implement some components you’ve learned to rely on. One such component is the timer.

In a windows application, you simply drag a Timer from the Toolbox and implement as normal.  Curiously, you can do the same in a service–it just doesn’t work.  This is because the timer in the toolbox is located in System.Windows.Forms. So how do you do it? It’s really quite simple.

First, add the following line to the top of your Windows Service project:

using System.Timers;

Next, add this line to top of your class (the section starting with public partial class..)

Timer timer1= new Timer();

Obviously you may want to pick a more descriptive name…just be consistent. Next we need to create the method that will fire each time the timer reaches 0.  

private void timer1_Elapsed(object sender, EventArgs e)
{
      //Some awesome code!
}

Lastly, we need to bind this method to the timer’s elapsed event and finish implementing the timer.  Find your service’s OnStart() method and add something like:

timer1.Elapsed += new ElapsedEventHandler(timer1_Elapsed);
timer1.Interval = 5000;
timer1.Enabled = true;
timer1.Start();

The first line above tells the service to run timer1_Elapsed everytime the timer1.Elapsed event is raised. The second line sets the timer1′s interval to 5 seconds (1000 milliseconds = 1 second).  Lastly we enable the timer and start it.

You may want to add this to your OnStop() method for completeness:

timer1.Enabled = false;

That’s all there is to it.  This should be all you need to know to implement a timer in your service.

Comments

  1. says

    Even though i put autoreset true it run twice only. Once at the time service starts and second time the time elapsed first time. After that no activity

  2. Bill Edward Adams says

    I couldn’t get this to work until I changed the event args in the timer1_elapsed method to
    System.Timers.ElapsedEventArgs e

  3. Bill Edward Adams says

    I couldn’t get this to work until I changed the event args in the timer1_elapsed method to
    System.Timers.ElapsedEventArgs e

  4. TJ says

    Thank you so much for this article. I couldn’t figure out why my service was not working! It turned out to be the Timer issue exactly as you described it. I followed your instructions, and presto! it works!

  5. TJ says

    Thank you so much for this article. I couldn’t figure out why my service was not working! It turned out to be the Timer issue exactly as you described it. I followed your instructions, and presto! it works!

      • Hanzdolo says

        It didn’t  work like that for me I dunno why. This is how it worked for me:
        using System.Timers;
        ..
        ..Timer timer1;..

        timer1= new Timer(5000);
        timer1.Elapsed += new ElapsedEventHandler(timer1_Elapsed);
        timer1.Enabled = true;
        timer1.Autoreset = true;timer1.Start();….
        private void timer1_Elapsed(object sender, ElapsedEventArgs e)
        {
              //Some awesome code!
        }

  6. Hanzdolo says

    It didn’t  work like that for me I dunno why. This is how it worked for me:
    using System.Timers;
    ..
    ..Timer timer1;..

    timer1= new Timer(5000);
    timer1.Elapsed += new ElapsedEventHandler(timer1_Elapsed);
    timer1.Enabled = true;
    timer1.Autoreset = true;timer1.Start();….
    private void timer1_Elapsed(object sender, ElapsedEventArgs e)
    {
          //Some awesome code!
    }

  7. Montoto says

    Awesome!!! Thanks… I started using Standard timer and I started making strange things like commenting or changing privileges on my Model because it was working while debugging but not on production. Thank you!!!

  8. Montoto says

    Awesome!!! Thanks… I started using Standard timer and I started making strange things like commenting or changing privileges on my Model because it was working while debugging but not on production. Thank you!!!

  9. pertneer says

    Thanks so much. I created a service following a series of articles I found at another site. The articles were very good and explain how a service worked. The only problem was that the service didn’t work – the timer never fired. Your article fixed the problem. Again, many thanks.

  10. Jeroen says

    Thanks, but you forgot something. This code will only run the code inside the Timer1_Elapsed once… if you want to have the code run every 5000 miliseconds instead of only once you should at:

    Timer1.AutoReset = True;

    This resets the timer everytime the elapsed event fires.

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