Click here to Skip to main content
11,411,312 members (63,677 online)
Click here to Skip to main content

An Alternative Implementation of the NotifyIcon Class

, 12 Apr 2002
Rate this:
Please Sign up or sign in to vote.
A wrapper class for notification icons (tray icons) with support for balloon tips.
<!-- Article image -->

Sample Image - NotifyIconEx_img.png

<!-- Add the rest of your HTML here -->


I recently wrote a Visual Source Safe sniper application. The purpose of this program is to wait patiently in the background for selected Visual Source Safe files to be checked in by fellow programmers. When the files become checked in the sniper checks these file out and notifies the user. This seemed like a perfect job for a notification icon. I was dismayed however to find out that the .NET class library's NotifyIcon class does not support balloon tips which are currently provided by the newer version of the common control library. This led to my CodeProject article 'Displaying a Notify Icon's Balloon Tool Tip'. However this approach was a hack at best and did not allow the application to receive notification when the balloon tip was clicked. So I decided to bite the bullet and write my own NotifyIcon class which would give me the ability to do everything I wanted.


I have kept the functionality of this class to the minimum of what I think is useful. For example I do not handle mouse move messages over the notification icon as I can't think of any good use for these messages. However adding this functionality is quite easy.

List of Features

  • Fires the events 'Click', 'Double Click', 'Click Balloon'
  • Declares properties 'Visible', 'Icon', 'Text', 'Context Menu'
  • Removes icon from notification area when garbage collected (there you go Nish)
  • Re-adds icon if explorer restarts
  • Provides the method ShowBalloon(string title, string text, int timeout)

How It Works

My class uses a similar approach to the .NET class in that it creates a hidden window to receive messages from the notify icon. These messages are then forwarded to the main class NotifyIconEx where they are filtered according to the notification icon's numeric ID. My class can be used to add multiple notify icons and all messages are handled by the one hidden window. At this point I must admit that I used the 'Anakrino' decompiler to take a peek at some of the code used to implement .NET's NotifyIcon class. I mainly used this to figure out how to display the context menu at the correct location and how to make sure that when you click outside of the menu it closes for you.

Platform invoke methods are used quite extensively in this class which is unfortunate but necessary. Hopefully as .NET matures the class library will expand to allow more advanced manipulations of windows and system functions but until then it's either scrap the cool feature or fall back to the Win32 API.

Problems Encountered

I must admit that the documentation concerning the balloon tip does not seem to match the behaviour. The timeout value does not seem to work. I could not get the correct windows message when the balloon is closed by the 'x' button. I get the 'timeout' message whether the balloon times out or it is closed by the user. Let me know if I have done anything wrong in regards to these issues or if anybody gets different results than I did on my XP machine.

Watch Out

I must warn you that if you use my NotifyIconEx class at the same time as NotifyIcon strange things may happen. See if you can figure out why.

Sign Off

I think you will find that my class is as simple to use is that supplied by .NET, if not simpler (you do not have to explicitly remove my icon when your application exits). You should be able to add the class to the toolbox and drag and drop it using the form designer as you can with the built in class.


This article has no explicit license attached to it but may contain usage terms in the article text or the download files themselves. If in doubt please contact the author via the discussion board below.

A list of licenses authors might use can be found here


About the Author

Comments and Discussions

GeneralExplorer Crash and UAC PinmemberElmue7-Nov-09 13:02 
General.NET standard NotifyIcon Pinmemberabnote_au26-Mar-09 17:16 
QuestionNice work - Allowed for commercial use? Pinmemberelectrowizard14-Jul-08 5:58 
AnswerRe: Nice work - Allowed for commercial use? Pinmemberelectrowizard14-Jul-08 6:00 
GeneralDuplicate Tray Icon PinmemberEylon Yogev.21-May-07 11:10 
Generalwhere I look for the value ? [modified] PinmemberJunrich11-May-07 18:11 
GeneralNotifyIconEx Sample Component_CLASS PinmemberDeemc23-Aug-06 17:17 
QuestionChange Right to Left PinmemberMahdi Afsar28-Jul-06 16:24 
GeneralTimeout values Pinmembercoolman545327-Apr-06 8:23 
GeneralProblems under Citrix Pinmembermav.northwind4-Aug-05 3:24 
Dear Joel,
I've used this otherwise great version of a NotifyIcon for quite some time but now found out that it's not behaving well when run under Citrix.
First, the notifyicons are shown even though Visible is set to false. This does not occurr when the application is run locally.
Secondly, when I move my mouse over one of these icons, the Citrix connection gets lost!

Right now I'm completely stumped regarding why this should happen. Do you have an explanation or an idea where to look?

Thanks in advance,
GeneralBalloon does not work on win2k3 PinmemberBrad.Net2-Jun-05 7:36 
GeneralDrag and Drop Pinmemberadneale22-May-05 8:23 
GeneralHiding the balloon again PinmemberDummyDUmb22-Apr-05 3:07 
GeneralRe: Hiding the balloon again PinmemberKieran Lee12-Jan-06 0:06 
GeneralNIN_BALLOONTIMEOUT Pinmemberdubitskiy2-Feb-05 0:37 
GeneralGreat job Pinmemberpekica5-Aug-04 5:01 
GeneralRe: Great job PinmemberTaha Zayed24-Sep-04 16:41 Usage Assistance Needed Pinmemberintel9611-May-04 3:57 
GeneralRe: Usage Assistance Needed Pinmembermeraydin7-May-05 14:56 
GeneralBetter... Pinmemberlianwk@pc.jaring.my7-Apr-04 23:54 
GeneralFormatted text PinsussJonathan Cooper7-Apr-04 9:59 
GeneralBalloon not working as expected Pinmembersmurtagh9-Dec-03 4:12 
GeneralRe: Balloon not working as expected PinmemberXenite11-Mar-05 11:51 
GeneralStrange thing happen if explorer dies Pinmembersmurtagh9-Dec-03 3:54 
GeneralRe: Strange thing happen if explorer dies Pinmembercimnik0294-Jan-05 15:22 

General General    News News    Suggestion Suggestion    Question Question    Bug Bug    Answer Answer    Joke Joke    Rant Rant    Admin Admin   

Use Ctrl+Left/Right to switch messages, Ctrl+Up/Down to switch threads, Ctrl+Shift+Left/Right to switch pages.

| Advertise | Privacy | Terms of Use | Mobile
Web01 | 2.8.150414.5 | Last Updated 13 Apr 2002
Article Copyright 2002 by Joel Matthias
Everything else Copyright © CodeProject, 1999-2015
Layout: fixed | fluid