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Creating an application with no taskbar icon

, 5 Jan 2000
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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
{
...
protected:
    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,
                CW_USEDEFAULT, CW_USEDEFAULT, CW_USEDEFAULT, CW_USEDEFAULT,
                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.

License

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

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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

 
AnswerRe: Working for Dialog based Apps!! The correct way? PinmemberWolle4-Aug-01 0:21 
GeneralRe: Working for Dialog based Apps!! The correct way? PinmemberWolle4-Aug-01 8:30 
AnswerRe: Working for Dialog based Apps!! The correct way? PinmemberRobJones28-Nov-01 15:48 
GeneralRe: Working for Dialog based Apps!! The correct way? PinmemberAlbert van Peppen9-Jan-02 21:14 
AnswerRe: Working for Dialog based Apps!! The correct way? PinmemberRiccardo Modesti18-Jan-02 2:32 
GeneralRe: Working for Dialog based Apps!! The correct way? PinmemberWaleed17-Apr-02 13:03 
AnswerRemove WS_EX_APPWINDOW easier. and TOGGLE ...? PinmemberBehzad Ebrahimi17-Dec-02 21:46 
GeneralRe: Remove WS_EX_APPWINDOW easier. and TOGGLE ...? Pinsussotwesten14-Apr-03 5:12 
This works great for me!
 
I've also tested to show/hide the taskbar button; you can do it like this (within the dialog):
 
// hide taskbar button
ShowWindow(SW_HIDE);
ModifyStyleEx(WS_EX_APPWINDOW, 0);
ShowWindow(SW_SHOW);
 
// show taskbar button
ShowWindow(SW_HIDE);
ModifyStyleEx(0, WS_EX_APPWINDOW);
ShowWindow(SW_SHOW);
 
Best wishes
AnswerRe: Working for Dialog based Apps!! The correct way? PinsussAnonymous16-Nov-04 18:41 
AnswerRe: Working for Dialog based Apps!! The correct way? - How to fix the ALT+TAB icon PinmemberDLChambers10-Jan-07 7:17 
AnswerRe: Working for Dialog based Apps!! The correct way? PinmemberKienNT787-Mar-08 20:22 
GeneralNot totally invisible Pinsusskabir20-Mar-00 4:30 
GeneralRe: Not totally invisible PinmemberAliAkbar Rashidi2-Apr-01 22:52 
GeneralRe: Not totally invisible PinmemberShengqian Ji19-Apr-02 3:33 
GeneralIts far easier to do with dialog Apps ! PinsussColin Davies13-Jan-00 9:03 
GeneralRe: Its far easier to do with dialog Apps ! PinsussMartin MacRobert25-Jan-00 9:58 
GeneralRe: Need to set 2 properties also PinsussVince Buttigieg23-Mar-00 13:37 
GeneralRe: Need to set 2 properties also PinsussAmmar30-Oct-00 22:25 
GeneralRe: Need to set 2 properties also Pinmemberzhangyifei25-Nov-02 3:28 
GeneralDialog Pinsussgaby13-Jan-00 7:02 
QuestionHow do you do this with a dialog? PinsussMartin MacRobert12-Jan-00 19:36 
AnswerRe: How do you do this with a dialog? PinsussJeremy Falcon1-Feb-00 14:53 
GeneralRe: How do you do this with a dialog? PinsussAlbert van Peppen5-Apr-00 0:32 
QuestionRe: How do you do this with a dialog? PinmemberKienNT786-Jan-09 23:43 

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