Programming Tutorials

ThreadGroup Sample in Java

By: Mashoud in Java Tutorials on 2007-09-02  

Thread groups offer a convenient way to manage groups of threads as a unit. This is particularly valuable in situations in which you want to suspend and resume a number of related threads. For example, imagine a program in which one set of threads is used for printing a document, another set is used to display the document on the screen, and another set saves the document to a disk file. If printing is aborted, you will want an easy way to stop all threads related to printing. Thread groups offer this convenience. The following program, which creates two thread groups of two threads each, illustrates this usage:

// Demonstrate thread groups.
class NewThread extends Thread {
    boolean suspendFlag;

    NewThread(String threadname, ThreadGroup tgOb) {
        super(tgOb, threadname);
        System.out.println("New thread: " + this);
        suspendFlag = false;
        start(); // Start the thread

    // This is the entry point for thread.
    public void run() {
        try {
            for (int i = 5; i > 0; i--) {
                System.out.println(getName() + ": " + i);
                synchronized (this) {
                    while (suspendFlag) {
        } catch (Exception e) {
            System.out.println("Exception in " + getName());
        System.out.println(getName() + " exiting.");

    void mysuspend() {
        suspendFlag = true;

    synchronized void myresume() {
        suspendFlag = false;

class ThreadGroupDemo {
    public static void main(String args[]) {
        ThreadGroup groupA = new ThreadGroup("Group A");
        ThreadGroup groupB = new ThreadGroup("Group B");
        NewThread ob1 = new NewThread("One", groupA);
        NewThread ob2 = new NewThread("Two", groupA);
        NewThread ob3 = new NewThread("Three", groupB);
        NewThread ob4 = new NewThread("Four", groupB);
        System.out.println("\\nHere is output from list():");
        System.out.println("Suspending Group A");
        Thread tga[] = new Thread[groupA.activeCount()];
        groupA.enumerate(tga); // get threads in group
        for (int i = 0; i < tga.length; i++) {
            ((NewThread) tga[i]).mysuspend(); // suspend each thread
        try {
        } catch (InterruptedException e) {
            System.out.println("Main thread interrupted.");
        System.out.println("Resuming Group A");
        for (int i = 0; i < tga.length; i++) {
            ((NewThread) tga[i]).myresume(); // resume threads in group}
            // wait for threads to finish
            try {
                System.out.println("Waiting for threads to finish.");
            } catch (Exception e) {
                System.out.println("Exception in Main thread");
            System.out.println("Main thread exiting.");

Sample output from this program is shown here:

New thread: Thread[One,5,Group A]
New thread: Thread[Two,5,Group A]
New thread: Thread[Three,5,Group B]
New thread: Thread[Four,5,Group B]
Here is output from list():
java.lang.ThreadGroup[name=Group A,maxpri=10]
Thread[One,5,Group A]
Thread[Two,5,Group A]
java.lang.ThreadGroup[name=Group B,maxpri=10]
Thread[Three,5,Group B]
Thread[Four,5,Group B]
Suspending Group A
Three: 5
Four: 5
Three: 4
Four: 4
Three: 3
Four: 3
Three: 2
Four: 2
Resuming Group A
Waiting for threads to finish.
One: 5
Two: 5
Three: 1
Four: 1
One: 4
Two: 4
Three exiting.
Four exiting.
One: 3
Two: 3
One: 2
Two: 2
One: 1
Two: 1
One exiting.
Two exiting.
Main thread exiting.

Inside the program, notice that thread group A is suspended for four seconds. As the output confirms, this causes threads One and Two to pause, but threads Three and Four continue running. After the four seconds, threads One and Two are resumed. Notice how thread group A is suspended and resumed. First, the threads in group A are obtained by calling enumerate() on group A. Then, each thread is suspended by iterating through the resulting array. To resume the threads in A, the list is again traversed and each thread is resumed. One last point: this example uses the recommended Java 2 approach to suspending and resuming threads. It does not rely upon the deprecated methods
suspend() and resume().

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