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Shell Notifications in C#

, 16 Oct 2002 Ms-PL
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Shows how to receive shell notifications for specified directories
Shell Notifications

Introduction

When you build an application that shows files or directories of the local computer, you must know if the files already exist. You can add refresh functions but there is another way to know in real time when something has changed by using the SHChangeNotifyRegister API.

For a complete overview of shell change notifications, James Holderness made a very useful "Shell Notifications" page.

The structures and enumerations are not listed here but are accessible in the sources.

SHChangeNotifyRegister and SHChangeNotifyUnregister declarations

The API calls are hidden: SHChangeNotifyRegister uses an entry point value of 2 and SHChangeNotifyUnregister uses 4.

using System.Runtime.InteropServices;

[DllImport("shell32.dll", EntryPoint="#2", CharSet=CharSet.Auto)]
private static extern uint SHChangeNotifyRegister(
    IntPtr hWnd,
    SHCNF fSources,
    SHCNE fEvents,
    uint wMsg,
    int cEntries,
    ref SHChangeNotifyEntry pFsne);

[DllImport("shell32.dll", EntryPoint="#4", CharSet=CharSet.Auto)]
[return:MarshalAs(UnmanagedType.Bool)]
private static extern Boolean SHChangeNotifyUnregister(
    ulong hNotify);

Register a handle

When a modification occurs, the shell sends a notification to each registered handle. You have to specify the folder root by the pidl retrieved by the SHGetSpecialFolderLocation API.

[DllImport("shell32.dll", CharSet=CharSet.Auto)]
private static extern uint SHGetSpecialFolderLocation(
    IntPtr hWnd,
    CSIDL nFolder,
    out IntPtr Pidl);

public ulong RegisterChangeNotify(IntPtr hWnd, CSIDL FolderID,
    bool Recursively)
{
    if(notifyid != 0) return(0);
    SHChangeNotifyEntry changeentry = new SHChangeNotifyEntry();

    changeentry.pIdl = GetPidlFromFolderID(hWnd, FolderID);
    changeentry.Recursively = Recursively;

    notifyid = SHChangeNotifyRegister(
        hWnd,
        SHCNF.SHCNF_TYPE | SHCNF.SHCNF_IDLIST,
        SHCNE.SHCNE_ALLEVENTS | SHCNE.SHCNE_INTERRUPT,
        WM_SHNOTIFY,
        1,
        ref changeentry);

    return(notifyid);
}

public Boolean UnregisterChangeNotify()
{
    if(notifyid == 0) return(false);

    if(SHChangeNotifyUnregister(notifyid))
    {
        notifyid = 0;
        return(true);
    }

    return(false);
}

public static IntPtr GetPidlFromFolderID(IntPtr hWnd, CSIDL Id)
{
    IntPtr pIdl = IntPtr.Zero;

    SHGetFolderLocationReturnValues res = 
	    (SHGetFolderLocationReturnValues)
		SHGetSpecialFolderLocation( hWnd,
            Id,
            out pIdl);

    return(pIdl);
}

Notification reception

When you receive a notification, you want to know the type of the operation, the concerned item, and the new value of the item. This information is stored in the SHNOTIFYSTRUCT which the WParam points to. You can then add the new notification to an ArrayList that contains each notification.

public System.Collections.ArrayList NotificationsReceived = 
    new System.Collections.ArrayList();

public bool NotificationReceipt(IntPtr wParam, IntPtr lParam)
{
    SHNOTIFYSTRUCT shNotify = (SHNOTIFYSTRUCT) Marshal.PtrToStructure(
        wParam,
        typeof(SHNOTIFYSTRUCT));

    NotifyInfos info = new NotifyInfos((SHCNE)(int) lParam);
    
    // These notifications are Not supported
    if(info.Notification == SHCNE.SHCNE_FREESPACE ||
        info.Notification == SHCNE.SHCNE_UPDATEIMAGE)
        return(false);
    
    info.Item1 = GetPathFromPidl(shNotify.dwItem1);
    info.Item2 = GetPathFromPidl(shNotify.dwItem2);
    
    // Was this notification in the received notifications ?
    if(NotificationsReceived.Contains(info))
	    return(false);

    NotificationsReceived.Add(info);

    return(true);
}

If the notification was not in the NotificationsReceived list, the NotificationReceipt method adds it to the list and returns true.

Now, a new case must be added in the WndProc of the Form, so that the notifications can be handled:

The code below handles the notification by checking if it has been added to the list.  if it isn't, NotificationReceipt returns true and the code calls NewOperation passing in the NotifyInfos struct corresponding to the latest event.

private ShellNotifications Notifications = new ShellNotifications();

protected override void WndProc(ref Message m)
{
    switch(m.Msg)
    {
        case (int) ShellNotifications.WM_SHNOTIFY:
            bool bAdded = Notifications.NotificationReceipt(
                m.WParam, m.LParam);

            if( bAdded )
            {
                NotifyInfos nis = (NotifyInfos) 
                    Notifications.NotificationsReceived[
                        Notifications.NotificationsReceived.Count - 1];

                NewOperation(nis);
            }

            break;
    }
    base.WndProc(ref m);
}

private void NewOperation(NotifyInfos infos)
{
    //
    // You can add your code here.
    // The line below is an example : 
    // it adds the operation informations in a listview.
    //
    listView1.Items.Add(
        new ListViewItem(
            new string[] {
                infos.Notification.ToString(),
                infos.Item1,
                infos.Item2}));
}

Revision History

  • October 17, 2002 - Initial posting

License

This article, along with any associated source code and files, is licensed under The Microsoft Public License (Ms-PL)

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About the Author

Thomas Caudal
Web Developer
France France
No Biography provided

Comments and Discussions

 
GeneralMy vote of 5 Pinmembermalac113-Jul-10 9:26 
QuestionCompact framework compatibility?? Pinmembernuttynibbles20-Feb-10 7:29 
GeneralSHChangeNotifyUnregister Pinmemberbzucko5-Mar-07 2:52 
Generalthis only works from explorer PinmemberBilliebub12-Feb-07 1:16 
GeneralGetDisplayNameFromPidl PinmemberLesuran9-Nov-04 3:44 
GeneralRe: GetDisplayNameFromPidl Pinmemberfelix at home24-Sep-06 23:07 
GeneralGet path name directly instead pidls PinmemberFreigeist21-Sep-04 6:34 
Questioncan not log all changes Pinmemberzbshen19-May-04 7:43 
AnswerRe: can not log all changes PinmemberSimmRein10-Sep-09 16:58 
QuestionHow to watch for viewing & executing actions Pinmemberzuken212-Apr-04 13:54 
GeneralCan't download although i logged in - that really bugs me! PinsussAnonymousAnNoyedAndRageous25-Jan-03 16:26 
GeneralFileSystemWatcher has platform issues PinmemberJames Cadd17-Oct-02 7:41 
GeneralRe: FileSystemWatcher has platform issues PinmemberJesper17-Oct-02 22:29 
GeneralRe: FileSystemWatcher has platform issues PinmemberJames Cadd18-Oct-02 1:46 
GeneralRe: FileSystemWatcher has platform issues PinmemberJesper18-Oct-02 1:56 
GeneralRe: FileSystemWatcher has platform issues Pinmembermalac113-Jul-10 9:27 
GeneralSystem.IO.FileSystemWatcher PinmemberJesper17-Oct-02 2:51 
GeneralRe: System.IO.FileSystemWatcher PineditorPaul Watson17-Oct-02 3:34 
GeneralRe: System.IO.FileSystemWatcher PinmemberDaniel Turini17-Oct-02 3:40 
GeneralRe: System.IO.FileSystemWatcher PineditorPaul Watson17-Oct-02 3:46 
Daniel Turini wrote:
Reinventing the wheel is only good if you create a better wheel.
 
Not true. What if you have no clue how that wheel was created and you want to know? MS are not too chummy with their .NET Framework class code yet.
 
So an article like this shows how it can be done. I had no idea about these shell notification thingamabobs but now I do and I also know how to use them etc.
 

Also maybe this articles code is better for a different purpose. Maybe the FileWatcher class is so feture packed it can be overkill for just a simple task, in that case this article code would be helpful.
 

It is a different wheel with it's innards showing Big Grin | :-D
 
Paul Watson
Bluegrass
Cape Town, South Africa

GeneralRe: System.IO.FileSystemWatcher PinmemberDaniel Turini17-Oct-02 3:56 
GeneralRe: System.IO.FileSystemWatcher PinmemberJesper17-Oct-02 4:05 
GeneralRe: System.IO.FileSystemWatcher PineditorPaul Watson17-Oct-02 4:28 
GeneralRe: System.IO.FileSystemWatcher PinsussAnonymous18-Oct-02 7:21 
GeneralRe: System.IO.FileSystemWatcher PinsussAnonymous19-Oct-02 4:58 
GeneralRe: System.IO.FileSystemWatcher Pinmembersweavo28-Nov-06 8:54 

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