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BackgroundWorker Component
Background Worker component in Visual Basic
Lets you run time consuming processes in the background on a separate thread and leaving the User Interface responsive.
RunWorkerSync method raises the DoWork event
Put the code in the DoWork that you want to run in a separate thread

  • Drag a backgroundWorker component to your form

Drag background worker component to the form

  • Double-click the backgroundWorker component in the component tray

backgroundworker in component tray

  • Add code to the DoWork event handler that you want to run in another process


        For x = 1 To 500000000

  • This keeps the computer busy for a little bit

Start background process work
Start the background work

  • Add a button control
    • Name it btnStart
    • Change the text to Start
  • Add the following code to the button_click  event handler


Announce completion of a background process
When the background process is done the RunWorkerCompleted event is raised

  • Select the backgroundWorker component in the component tray
  • Select the lightning bolt in the properties window
  • Double-click the RunWorkerCompleted event
  • Add this code:

MessageBox.Show("Background process completed")

cancel background process
Cancelling a Background Process

You can call CancelAsync method, it sets the CancellationPending property of the backgroundWorker component to true

  • Select the backgroundWorker component
  • Set the WorkerSupportsCancellation property to true
  • Add another button to your form
    • Name it btnCancel
    • Set the text property to Cancel
  • Double-click the button and add this code to the button_click event handler


  • If you forget to set the WorkerSupportsCancellation property you will get the following error

Possible error when using cancelAsync

  • Add the following code to the doWork method to cancel the operation. Put it inside your for loop.

        If BackgroundWorker1.CancellationPending Then
e.Cancel = True
Exit Sub
End If

  • When you cancel you get the messagebox stating that your process is complete.
    • RunWorkerCompleted runs if either the process completes or is cancelled

pass a parameter
Passing a parameter

  • You can pass a parameter when you call RunWorkerSync
  • It can be accessed by the DoWorkEventArgs.Argument property

Returning a value from a process

  • Set the result property of the doworkeventargs in the dowork eventhandler
  • Then retrieve it in the runworkercompleted event handler as result property in runworkercompletedeventargs


  • Change the code in your btnStart_click event handler to

BackgroundWorker1.RunWorkerAsync("My Message")

  • Change the code in your doWork to:


        Dim myParameter As String
myParameter = CType(e.Argument, String)
e.Result = myParameter


  • You have to cast it to the correct data type
    • You could now use this in your process if you wanted


  • Change the code in you runWorkerCompleted event handler to

        MessageBox.Show("Background process completed" + e.Result.ToString())

  • If you cancel the process you get an error, so you might want to wrap this code in a try statement or put it in an if statement

        If e.Cancelled Then
MessageBox.Show("Background process cancelled ")
MessageBox.Show("Background process completed " + e.Result.ToString())
End If
status of bnackground worker component
Requesting Status of Backgroundworker
You can tell if the background worker is executing a process from the isBusy Property

  • Add another button
    • Name it btnCheckBW
    • Change the text to Check
  • Add this code to the button click event handler

        If BackgroundWorker1.IsBusy Then
MessageBox.Show("backgroundWorker is busy")
MessageBox.Show("backgroundWorker is Ready")
End If

backgroundworker progressbar
Reporting progress with backgroundWorker

  • The backgroundWorker has a reportProgress method that raises the backgroundWorker.ProgressChanged event
  • Lets you pass a parameter that tells the percent of progress
  • You have to change the workerReportsProgress property to true
  • Add a progressbar to the form
    • Set the maximum property to 500000000
  • Add this code inside your for loop in the dowork event handler

            If x Mod 5000000 = 0 Then
End If

  • The mod is added to reduce the amount of updates
  • Test it

end background worker component