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wxSingleInstanceChecker class allows to check that only a single instance of a program is running. To do it, you should create an object of this class. As long as this object is alive, calls to IsAnotherRunning() from other processes will return true.

As the object should have the life span as big as possible, it makes sense to create it either as a global or in wxApp::OnInit. For example:

bool MyApp::OnInit()
    const wxString name = wxString::Format("MyApp-%s", wxGetUserId().c_str());
    m_checker = new wxSingleInstanceChecker(name);
    if ( m_checker->IsAnotherRunning() )
        wxLogError(_("Another program instance is already running, aborting."));

        return false;

    ... more initializations ...

    return true;

int MyApp::OnExit()
    delete m_checker;

    return 0;
Note using wxGetUserId() to construct the name: this allows different user to run the application concurrently which is usually the intended goal. If you don't use the user name in the wxSingleInstanceChecker name, only one user would be able to run the application at a time.

This class is implemented for Win32 and Unix platforms (supporting fcntl() system call, but almost all of modern Unix systems do) only.

Derived from

No base class

Include files






Default ctor, use Create() after it.


wxSingleInstanceChecker(const wxString& name, const wxString& path = wxEmptyString)

Like Create() but without error checking.


bool Create(const wxString& name, const wxString& path = wxEmptyString)

Initialize the object if it had been created using the default constructor. Note that you can't call Create() more than once, so calling it if the non default ctor had been used is an error.




Return value

Returns false if initialization failed, it doesn't mean that another instance is running - use IsAnotherRunning() to check for it.


One of possible reasons while Create may fail on Unix is that the lock file used for checking already exists but was not created by the user. Therefore applications shouldn't treat failure of this function as fatal condition, because doing so would open them to the possibility of a Denial of Service attack. Instead, they should alert the user about the problem and offer to continue execution without checking if another instance is running.


bool IsAnotherRunning() const

Returns true if another copy of this program is already running, false otherwise.



Destructor frees the associated resources.

Note that it is not virtual, this class is not meant to be used polymorphically