Java - States of Thread

The following diagram illustrates the various states that a Java thread can be in at any point during its life. It also illustrates which method calls cause a transition to another state. This diagram is not a complete finite state diagram, but rather an overview of the more interesting and common aspect of a thread's life. The remainder of this page discusses a Thread's life cycle in terms of its state.

New Thread

The following statement creates a new thread but does not start it, thereby leaving the thread in the "New Thread" state.

Thread myThread = new MyThreadClass();

When a thread is in the "New Thread" state, it is merely an empty Thread object. No system resources have been allocated for it yet. Thus when a thread is in this state, you can only start the thread or stop it. Calling any method besides start() or stop() when a thread is in this state makes no sense and causes an IllegalThreadStateException.


Now consider these two lines of code:

Thread myThread = new MyThreadClass();

The start() method creates the system resources necessary to run the thread, schedules the thread to run, and calls the thread's run() method. At this point the thread is in the "Runnable" state. This state is called "Runnable" rather than "Running" because the thread might not actually be running when it is in this state. Many computers have a single processor, making it impossible to run all "Runnable" threads at the same time. So, the Java runtime system must implement a scheduling scheme that shares the processor between all "Runnable" threads. (See Thread Priority for more information about scheduling.) However, for most purposes you can think of the "Runnable" state as simply "Running". When a thread is running--it's "Runnable" and is the current thread--the instructions in its run() method are executing sequentially.

Not Runnable

A thread enters the "Not Runnable" state when one of these four events occurs:
  • Someone invokes its sleep() method.
  • Someone invokes its suspend() method.
  • The thread uses its wait() method to wait on a condition variable.
  • The thread is blocking on I/O.
For example, the bold line in the following code snippet puts the current thread to sleep for 10 seconds (10,000 milliseconds):

try {
} catch (InterruptedException e){

During the 10 seconds that myThread is asleep, even if the processor becomes available myThread does not run. After the 10 seconds are up, myThread becomes "Runnable" again and, if the processor becomes available, runs.

For each of the entrances into the "Not Runnable" state shown in the figure, there is a specific and distinct escape route that returns the thread to the "Runnable" state. An escape route only works for its corresponding entrance. For example, if a thread has been put to sleep, then the specified number of milliseconds must elapse before the thread becomes "Runnable" again. Calling resume() on a sleeping thread has no effect.

The following indicates the escape route for every entrance into the "Not Runnable" state.
  • If a thread has been put to sleep, then the specified number of milliseconds must elapse.
  • If a thread has been suspended, then someone must call its resume() method.
  • If a thread is waiting on a condition variable, whatever object owns the variable must relinquish it by calling either notify() or notifyAll().
  • If a thread is blocked on I/O, then the I/O must complete.
A thread can die in two ways: either from natural causes, or by being killed (stopped). A thread dies naturally when its run() method exits normally. For example, the while loop in this method is a finite loop--it will iterate 100 times and then exit.

public void run() {
int i = 0;
while (i < 100) {
System.out.println("i = " + i);

A thread with this run() method will die naturally after the loop and the run() method completes.
You can also kill a thread at any time by calling its stop() method. The following code snippet creates and starts myThread then puts the current thread to sleep for 10 seconds. When the current thread wakes up, the bold line in the code segment kills myThread.

Thread myThread = new MyThreadClass();
try {
} catch (InterruptedException e){

The stop() method throws a ThreadDeath object at the thread to kill it. Thus when a thread is killed in this manner it dies asynchronously. The thread will die when it actually receives the ThreadDeath exception.

The stop() method causes a sudden termination of a Thread's run() method. If the run() method performs critical or sensitive calculations, stop() may leave the program in an inconsistent or awkward state. Normally, you should not call Thread's stop() method but arrange for a gentler termination such as setting a flag to indicate to the run() method that it should exit.


The runtime system throws an IllegalThreadStateException when you call a method on a thread and that thread's state does not allow for that method call. For example, IllegalThreadStateException is thrown when you invoke suspend() on a thread that is not "Runnable".

As shown in the various examples of threads so far in this lesson, when you call a thread method that can throw an exception, you must either catch and handle the exception, or specify that the calling method throws the uncaught exception.

The isAlive() Method

A final word about thread state: the programming interface for the Thread class includes a method called is Alive(). The isAlive() method returns true if the thread has been started and not stopped. Thus, if the isAlive() method returns false you know that the thread is either a "New Thread" or "Dead". If the isAlive() method returns true, you know that the thread is either "Runnable" or "Not Runnable". You cannot differentiate between a "New Thread" and a "Dead" thread; nor can you differentiate between a "Runnable" thread and a "Not Runnable" thread.

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This explaination is very old.
The states of Thread from Java 5 onwards are given as an enum
if your NOT RUNNABLE includes the WAITING, TIMED_WAITING and the BLOCKED states, then the condition for BLOCKED is missing
Blocking on ID is not a BLOCKED state.
BLOCKED state is only when the thread is waiting for the lock of an object,

Above is a extremely clear explanation of the various states that a Java thread can be in at any point during its life.It is a overview of the more interesting and common aspect of a thread's life.
oracle ebs r12

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