How to Execute a Command in C# ?

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

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.

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.

Vivek Maskara

I am pursuing BTech in Software Engineering from Delhi Technological University. I develop apps, create websites and blog about my app experiences.

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