How can I continue to run my console application until a key press (like Esc is pressed?)

I'm assuming its wrapped around a while loop. I don't like ReadKey as it blocks operation and asks for a key, rather than just continue and listen for the key press.

How can this be done?

Solution 1

Use Console.KeyAvailable so that you only call ReadKey when you know it won't block:

Console.WriteLine("Press ESC to stop");
do {
    while (! Console.KeyAvailable) {
        // Do something
   }       
} while (Console.ReadKey(true).Key != ConsoleKey.Escape);

Solution 2

You can change your approach slightly - use Console.ReadKey() to stop your app, but do your work in a background thread:

static void Main(string[] args)
{
    var myWorker = new MyWorker();
    myWorker.DoStuff();
    Console.WriteLine("Press any key to stop...");
    Console.ReadKey();
}

In the myWorker.DoStuff() function you would then invoke another function on a background thread (using Action<>() or Func<>() is an easy way to do it), then immediately return.

Solution 3

The shortest way:

Console.WriteLine("Press ESC to stop");

while (!(Console.KeyAvailable && Console.ReadKey(true).Key == ConsoleKey.Escape))
{
    // do something
}

Console.ReadKey() is a blocking function, it stops the execution of the program and waits for a key press, but thanks to checking Console.KeyAvailable first, the while loop is not blocked, but running until the Esc is pressed.

Solution 4

From the video curse Building .NET Console Applications in C# by Jason Roberts at http://www.pluralsight.com

We could do following to have multiple running process

  static void Main(string[] args)
    {
        Console.CancelKeyPress += (sender, e) =>
        {

            Console.WriteLine("Exiting...");
            Environment.Exit(0);
        };

        Console.WriteLine("Press ESC to Exit");

        var taskKeys = new Task(ReadKeys);
        var taskProcessFiles = new Task(ProcessFiles);

        taskKeys.Start();
        taskProcessFiles.Start();

        var tasks = new[] { taskKeys };
        Task.WaitAll(tasks);
    }

    private static void ProcessFiles()
    {
        var files = Enumerable.Range(1, 100).Select(n => "File" + n + ".txt");

        var taskBusy = new Task(BusyIndicator);
        taskBusy.Start();

        foreach (var file in files)
        {
            Thread.Sleep(1000);
            Console.WriteLine("Procesing file {0}", file);
        }
    }

    private static void BusyIndicator()
    {
        var busy = new ConsoleBusyIndicator();
        busy.UpdateProgress();
    }

    private static void ReadKeys()
    {
        ConsoleKeyInfo key = new ConsoleKeyInfo();

        while (!Console.KeyAvailable && key.Key != ConsoleKey.Escape)
        {

            key = Console.ReadKey(true);

            switch (key.Key)
            {
                case ConsoleKey.UpArrow:
                    Console.WriteLine("UpArrow was pressed");
                    break;
                case ConsoleKey.DownArrow:
                    Console.WriteLine("DownArrow was pressed");
                    break;

                case ConsoleKey.RightArrow:
                    Console.WriteLine("RightArrow was pressed");
                    break;

                case ConsoleKey.LeftArrow:
                    Console.WriteLine("LeftArrow was pressed");
                    break;

                case ConsoleKey.Escape:
                    break;

                default:
                    if (Console.CapsLock && Console.NumberLock)
                    {
                        Console.WriteLine(key.KeyChar);
                    }
                    break;
            }
        }
    }
}

internal class ConsoleBusyIndicator
{
    int _currentBusySymbol;

    public char[] BusySymbols { get; set; }

    public ConsoleBusyIndicator()
    {
        BusySymbols = new[] { '|', '/', '-', '\\' };
    }
    public void UpdateProgress()
    {
        while (true)
        {
            Thread.Sleep(100);
            var originalX = Console.CursorLeft;
            var originalY = Console.CursorTop;

            Console.Write(BusySymbols[_currentBusySymbol]);

            _currentBusySymbol++;

            if (_currentBusySymbol == BusySymbols.Length)
            {
                _currentBusySymbol = 0;
            }

            Console.SetCursorPosition(originalX, originalY);
        }
    }

Solution 5

Here is an approach for you to do something on a different thread and start listening to the key pressed in a different thread. And the Console will stop its processing when your actual process ends or the user terminates the process by pressing Esc key.

class SplitAnalyser
{
    public static bool stopProcessor = false;
    public static bool Terminate = false;

    static void Main(string[] args)
    {
        Console.ForegroundColor = ConsoleColor.Green;
        Console.WriteLine("Split Analyser starts");
        Console.ForegroundColor = ConsoleColor.Red;
        Console.WriteLine("Press Esc to quit.....");
        Thread MainThread = new Thread(new ThreadStart(startProcess));
        Thread ConsoleKeyListener = new Thread(new ThreadStart(ListerKeyBoardEvent));
        MainThread.Name = "Processor";
        ConsoleKeyListener.Name = "KeyListener";
        MainThread.Start();
        ConsoleKeyListener.Start();

        while (true) 
        {
            if (Terminate)
            {
                Console.WriteLine("Terminating Process...");
                MainThread.Abort();
                ConsoleKeyListener.Abort();
                Thread.Sleep(2000);
                Thread.CurrentThread.Abort();
                return;
            }

            if (stopProcessor)
            {
                Console.WriteLine("Ending Process...");
                MainThread.Abort();
                ConsoleKeyListener.Abort();
                Thread.Sleep(2000);
                Thread.CurrentThread.Abort();
                return;
            }
        } 
    }

    public static void ListerKeyBoardEvent()
    {
        do
        {
            if (Console.ReadKey(true).Key == ConsoleKey.Escape)
            {
                Terminate = true;
            }
        } while (true); 
    }

    public static void startProcess()
    {
        int i = 0;
        while (true)
        {
            if (!stopProcessor && !Terminate)
            {
                Console.ForegroundColor = ConsoleColor.White;
                Console.WriteLine("Processing...." + i++);
                Thread.Sleep(3000);
            }
            if(i==10)
                stopProcessor = true;

        }
    }

}

Solution 6

If you are using Visual Studio, then you can use "Start Without Debugging" in the Debug menu.

It will automatically write "Press any key to continue . . ." to the console for you upon completion of the application and it will leave the console open for you until a key is pressed.

Solution 7

Addressing cases that some of the other answers don't handle well:

  • Responsive: direct execution of keypress handling code; avoids the vagaries of polling or blocking delays
  • Optionality: global keypress is opt-in; otherwise the app should exit normally
  • Separation of concerns: less invasive listening code; operates independently of normal console app code.

Many of the solutions on this page involve polling Console.KeyAvailable or blocking on Console.ReadKey. While it's true that the .NET Console is not very cooperative here, you can use Task.Run to move towards a more modern Async mode of listening.

The main issue to be aware of is that, by default, your console thread isn't set up for Async operation--meaning that, when you fall out of the bottom of your main function, instead of awaiting Async completions, your AppDoman and process will end. A proper way to address this would be to use Stephen Cleary's AsyncContext to establish full Async support in your single-threaded console program. But for simpler cases, like waiting for a keypress, installing a full trampoline may be overkill.

The example below would be for a console program used in some kind of iterative batch file. In this case, when the program is done with its work, normally it should exit without requiring a keypress, and then we allow an optional key press to prevent the app from exiting. We can pause the cycle to examine things, possibly resuming, or use the pause as a known 'control point' at which to cleanly break out of the batch file.

static void Main(String[] args)
{
    Console.WriteLine("Press any key to prevent exit...");
    var tHold = Task.Run(() => Console.ReadKey(true));

    // ... do your console app activity ...

    if (tHold.IsCompleted)
    {
#if false   // For the 'hold' state, you can simply halt forever...
        Console.WriteLine("Holding.");
        Thread.Sleep(Timeout.Infinite);
#else                            // ...or allow continuing to exit
        while (Console.KeyAvailable)
            Console.ReadKey(true);     // flush/consume any extras
        Console.WriteLine("Holding. Press 'Esc' to exit.");
        while (Console.ReadKey(true).Key != ConsoleKey.Escape)
            ;
#endif
    }
}

Solution 8

with following code you can listen for Spacebar in middle of your console execution and pause until another key is pressed with additional of option of listening for Escape Key in order to breake the main loop.

static ConsoleKeyInfo cki = new ConsoleKeyInfo();

while(true) {
      if (WaitOrBreak()) break;
      //your main code
}

private static bool WaitOrBreak(){
    if (Console.KeyAvailable) cki = Console.ReadKey(true);
    if (cki.Key == ConsoleKey.Spacebar)
    {
        Console.Write("waiting..");
        while (Console.KeyAvailable == false)
        {
            Thread.Sleep(250);Console.Write(".");
        }
        Console.WriteLine();
        Console.ReadKey(true);
        cki = new ConsoleKeyInfo();
    }
    if (cki.Key == ConsoleKey.Escape) return true;
    return false;
}

Solution 9

According to my experience, in console apps the easiest way to read the last key pressed is as follows (Example with arrow keys):

ConsoleKey readKey = Console.ReadKey ().Key;
if (readKey == ConsoleKey.LeftArrow) {
    <Method1> ();  //Do something
} else if (readKey == ConsoleKey.RightArrow) {
    <Method2> ();  //Do something
}

I use to avoid loops, instead I write the code above within a method, and I call it at the end of both "Method1" and "Method2", so, after executing "Method1" or "Method2", Console.ReadKey().Key is ready to read the keys again.

Solution 10

Console.WriteLine("Hello");
var key = Console.ReadKey(); 
DateTime start = DateTime.Now;
bool gotKey = Console.KeyAvailable;

while ((DateTime.Now - start).TotalSeconds < 2)                
{
    if (key.Key == ConsoleKey.Escape)
    {
       Environment.Exit(0);
    } 
    else if (key.Key == ConsoleKey.Enter)
    {
       break;
    }