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Creating an application with no taskbar icon

, 5 Jan 2000 CPOL
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A simple method to create a main window that does not appear in the windows taskbar

This is a technique I first saw in Mike Blaszczak's 'stealth' program.

It is desirable sometimes to not have your application window show up in the taskbar. For instance, you may have an application resides in the system tray, and since it already has a system tray icon, having the extra icon in the taskbar is needless duplication. A simple way to create a window that will not have an icon in the taskbar is to create a separate invisible window, and have that invisible window be the parent of your applications window.

The way to do this, and still allow your application's window to remain visible, is to set the invisible window as parent in your application's PreCreateWindow override.

First, declare a window member variable in your Main Frame class:

class CMainFrame : public CFrameWnd
    CWnd m_wndInvisible;

Then override CMainFrame::PreCreateWindow:

BOOL CMainFrame::PreCreateWindow(CREATESTRUCT& cs)
    if (!CFrameWnd::PreCreateWindow(cs))
         return FALSE;

     // Create invisible window
     if (!::IsWindow(m_wndInvisible.m_hWnd))
        LPCTSTR pstrOwnerClass = AfxRegisterWndClass(0);
        if (!m_wndInvisible.CreateEx(0, pstrOwnerClass, _T(""), WS_POPUP,
                NULL, 0))
            return FALSE;

    cs.hwndParent = m_wndInvisible.m_hWnd;

    return TRUE;

That's all you need to do! The invisible window will be automatically destroyed when the main application closes.


This article, along with any associated source code and files, is licensed under The Code Project Open License (CPOL)


About the Author

Chris Maunder
Founder CodeProject
Canada Canada
Chris is the Co-founder, Administrator, Architect, Chief Editor and Shameless Hack who wrote and runs The Code Project. He's been programming since 1988 while pretending to be, in various guises, an astrophysicist, mathematician, physicist, hydrologist, geomorphologist, defence intelligence researcher and then, when all that got a bit rough on the nerves, a web developer. He is a Microsoft Visual C++ MVP both globally and for Canada locally.

His programming experience includes C/C++, C#, SQL, MFC, ASP, ASP.NET, and far, far too much FORTRAN. He has worked on PocketPCs, AIX mainframes, Sun workstations, and a CRAY YMP C90 behemoth but finds notebooks take up less desk space.

He dodges, he weaves, and he never gets enough sleep. He is kind to small animals.

Chris was born and bred in Australia but splits his time between Toronto and Melbourne, depending on the weather. For relaxation he is into road cycling, snowboarding, rock climbing, and storm chasing.

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Comments and Discussions

QuestionThis is not working for me? Pin
Swatto8618-May-14 12:36
memberSwatto8618-May-14 12:36 
GeneralMy vote of 5 Pin
zenkicpp30-Nov-12 14:17
memberzenkicpp30-Nov-12 14:17 
Newssumthing missing Pin
addy80823-Apr-07 4:09
memberaddy80823-Apr-07 4:09 
GeneralVC++ Code to add application icon to the Task Manager Pin
Smitha Rao27-Sep-06 5:03
memberSmitha Rao27-Sep-06 5:03 
GeneralRe: VC++ Code to add application icon to the Task Manager Pin
hari_honey19-Aug-08 20:53
memberhari_honey19-Aug-08 20:53 
Questionalt+tab Pin
Anonymous12-Sep-05 2:41
sussAnonymous12-Sep-05 2:41 
AnswerRe: alt+tab Pin
Torres O.19-Jan-06 13:26
memberTorres O.19-Jan-06 13:26 
General[Message Removed] Pin
nompel6-Oct-08 10:18
membernompel6-Oct-08 10:18 
AnswerDon't do that Pin
Elmue14-May-12 8:37
memberElmue14-May-12 8:37 
AnswerRe: alt+tab Pin
sam t. xu21-Apr-06 11:11
membersam t. xu21-Apr-06 11:11 
AnswerRe: alt+tab problem solved Pin
Elmue14-May-12 8:29
memberElmue14-May-12 8:29 
QuestionHow I can add an icon in the left superior corner? Pin
leoncar12-Jan-04 19:14
sussleoncar12-Jan-04 19:14 
QuestionHow I can add an icon in the left superior corner? Pin
leolim12-Jan-04 19:13
memberleolim12-Jan-04 19:13 
QuestionHow to make it in Visual Basic? Pin
Mickey_vip6-Aug-03 13:40
memberMickey_vip6-Aug-03 13:40 
GeneralIncorrect icon in system dialog When Alt+Tab Pin
kimdaejeong25-Apr-03 0:31
susskimdaejeong25-Apr-03 0:31 
QuestionHow to Create an application(base dialog) with no taskbar icon? Pin
zhangyifei25-Nov-02 4:40
memberzhangyifei25-Nov-02 4:40 
AnswerRe: How to Create an application(base dialog) with no taskbar icon? Pin
LupinTaiwan17-Sep-15 20:24
memberLupinTaiwan17-Sep-15 20:24 
GeneralThis man is just great :) Pin
Anonymous27-Mar-02 15:59
memberAnonymous27-Mar-02 15:59 
General...or as they tell it in MSDN... Pin
Mathias14-Jan-02 0:14
memberMathias14-Jan-02 0:14 
GeneralRe: ...or as they tell it in MSDN... Pin
Chris Maunder14-Jan-02 0:33
memberChris Maunder14-Jan-02 0:33 
GeneralRe: ...or as they tell it in MSDN... Pin
Mathias14-Jan-02 0:59
memberMathias14-Jan-02 0:59 
GeneralRe: ...or as they tell it in MSDN... Pin
Elmue14-May-12 8:09
memberElmue14-May-12 8:09 
AnswerThe perfect solution Pin
Elmue14-May-12 8:20
memberElmue14-May-12 8:20 
GeneralRe: ...or as they tell it in MSDN... Pin
Anonymous22-Jul-03 21:14
sussAnonymous22-Jul-03 21:14 
GeneralRe: ...or as they tell it in MSDN... Pin
Anonymous22-Jul-03 21:18
sussAnonymous22-Jul-03 21:18 

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