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MessageBox with a timeout for .NET

, 12 Aug 2004 CPOL
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Just like MessageBox.Show but with an added timeout parameter


Have you ever wanted a message box that times out? Well here you go.

Using the code

  1. Add MessageBoxEx.cs to your project or assembly your project references.
  2. Change MessageBox.Show(...); calls to MessageBoxEx.Show(..., timeout);.
  3. That's it!


  1. MessageBoxEx has all 12 of the MessageBox.Show overloads.
  2. The timeout is expressed in milliseconds.
  3. MessageBoxEx does not support reentrancy. Good thing too. Why would you want to have more than one message box at the same time?
  4. If the user doesn't press a button before the timeout elapses the function will return the DialogResult of the messagebox dialogs default button.

How does it work?

Just before calling MessageBox.Show(...), SetWindowsHookEx(WH_CALLWNDPROCRET, ...) is called. The hook proc looks for a WM_INITDIALOG on a window with text equal to the message box caption. A windows timer is started on that window with the appropriate timeout. When the timeout fires EndDialog is called with the result set to the dialog default button ID. You can get that ID by sending a dialog box a DM_GETDEFID message. Pretty simple.


KB318804: HOW TO: Set a Windows Hook in Visual C#.NET


GipsySoft: You'll find a C++ implementation with many more features.


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


About the Author

Software Developer (Senior) Bloomberg
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Comments and Discussions

GeneralRe: Converted to C++/CLI PinmemberRodgerB1-Sep-11 10:28 
GeneralThank you! PinmemberChrisKane15-May-11 23:19 
GeneralMy vote of 5 Pinmembermatrixology4-May-11 6:06 
GeneralIts not working with DefaultDesktopOnly/ ServiceNotification option Pinmemberkirangiri4-Jan-11 8:26 
GeneralIts not working with DefaultDesktopOnly/ ServiceNotification option Pinmemberkirangiri4-Jan-11 8:26 
GeneralMy vote of 5 PinmemberFrancesco Pasquesi1-Dec-10 4:10 
GeneralSome enhancements PinmemberDanielLey25-Sep-10 7:59 
GeneralMy vote of 5 PinmemberTomChantler22-Sep-10 5:59 
GeneralThis isn't working in win7, Visual Studio 2008 PinmemberMr C P10-Mar-10 0:10 
GeneralRe: This isn't working in win7, Visual Studio 2008 PinmemberMr C P10-Mar-10 0:15 
GeneralRe: This isn't working in win7, Visual Studio 2008 PinmemberTomChantler22-Sep-10 6:00 
Generalgood article PinmemberDonsw17-Jan-09 18:51 
GeneralVery very very good code, but... Pinmemberseb.4924-Apr-08 6:20 
QuestionDoes this support multi threading calls PinmemberKanna22-Mar-08 6:23 
GeneralRe: Does this support multi threading calls PinmemberRodgerB31-Mar-08 14:00 
GeneralPocketPC Pinmemberrichardjjs14-Apr-07 22:56 
GeneralRe: PocketPC [modified] PinmemberRodgerB15-Apr-07 5:50 
GeneralAmazing Pinmemberazam's13-Feb-07 19:21 
GeneralRe: Amazing PinmemberAndreas Hollmann2-May-07 1:24 
QuestionHow to implement in CF PinmemberAjatashatru13-Sep-06 4:19 
AnswerRe: How to implement in CF PinmemberRodgerB13-Sep-06 4:46 
GeneralServiceNotification PinmemberRyan McFarren5-Jun-06 11:23 
QuestionMessageBoxTimeOut API function? Pinmembereshipman13-Dec-04 4:42 
AnswerRe: MessageBoxTimeOut API function? PinmemberRodgerB13-Dec-04 6:08 
GeneralAppDomain.GetCurrentThreadId() is deprecated with Visual Studio 2005 Beta 1 PinsussAnonymous13-Oct-04 13:51 

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