Access to modified closure

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Imaging a small C# winform app with just one ListBox and the following code:

private void Form1_Load(object sender, EventArgs e)
{
    for (int i = 0; i < 5; i++)
    {
        Thread t = new Thread(() => AddToListbox(i));
        t.Start();
    }
}

private void AddToListbox(int i)
{
    if (this.InvokeRequired)
        this.Invoke(new Action<int>(AddToListbox), i);
    else
        this.listBox1.Items.Add(i);
}

A simple loop iterating over the numbers from 0 to 4 and adding these values asynchronous to a ListBox. What do you expect? I expected the numbers from 0 to 4 shown in the ListBox but in any random order since I do not control the threads in any way.

2 - 3 - 4 - 5 - 5 4 - 2 -  2 - 4 - 5

I didn’t expect any number to appear multiple times and I’m totally surprised to  see the number 5!

But ReSharper gave me a hint that I often saw but never understood:

"Access to modified closure" by  R#

So what’s going on?

I use the syntax of an Lambda expression instead of a regular function call (e.g. using the ThreadStart class and a delegate). This Lambda expression is not evaluated until the thread uses it. And by this time, the loop can be in its next iteration. If the loop is already finished i will be 5.

That is exactly what R# tries to tell me: “Hey, you are accessing here a variable but change it later on. Maybe that is not a good idea.”. – It isn’t.

The solution

Just make a copy of i before passing it into the expression. This copy must be a private copy that will not be changed later. The easiest way to do so is declaring a variable inside the body of the loop. In every iteration of the loop a new integer will be created on the stack and the Lambda expression will access this one.

for (int i = 0; i < 5; i++)
{
    int copy = i;
    Thread t = new Thread(() => AddToListbox(copy));
    t.Start();
}

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