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Programs that ignore this rule may function correctly most of the time, but are subject to unpredictable errors that are difficult to reproduce.A note on thread safety: It may seem strange that such an important part of the Java platform is not thread safe.In some cases, failure paths involve attempts to reverse previous steps.! I just read the answers and this appears to be a very hot topic. Invoke Required Property reference to MSDN) returns true if the call was made from a thread that is not the GUI thread, false either if the call was made from the GUI thread, or if the Handle was not created yet.
That's one of the conveniences of using the Background Worker. The only thing running in the non-UI thread is the Do Work method. The well known formula greatly described in the previous answers, that makes use of the Invoke Required property covers most of the cases, but not the entire pool. The Invoke Required property, as described here (Control.
Some Swing component methods are labelled "thread safe" in the API specification; these can be safely invoked from any thread.
All other Swing component methods must be invoked from the event dispatch thread.
It turns out that any attempt to create a thread-safe GUI library faces some fundamental problems.
For more on this issue, see the following entry in Graham Hamilton's blog: Multi Threaded toolkits: A failed dream? Tasks on the event dispatch thread must finish quickly; if they don't, unhandled events back up and the user interface becomes unresponsive.