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A thread-safe timed message box

, 12 Feb 2001
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The system Message Box that is closed atuomatically after some time

What is the code for

This is for using the systems MessageBox (no extra dialog creation needed). After a time with no user-response the dialog is automatically closed. An optional text showing the time left to interact is provided. It's also a replacement for MSDN Q181934 (doesn't work)


Before calling MessageBox, a timer is installed. In the timer's callback-procedure the message-text from the box is replaced (optional).

When the box should be closed, a WM_COMMAND is posted to the MessageBox Window.


I decided to collect all the information corresponding to the MessageBox (title, Message, Flags ...) in a class. Then there is the problem that only a static timer-callback-procedure can be installed with the SetTimer()-function: one can not access the class-members (as it is static).

To solve this problem, I inserted a Map to store the classes corresponding to a timer-id:


class CDlgTimedMessageBox
    // ...
    UINT         ShowMessageBox(BOOL *pbStoppedByUser=NULL);
    // ...
    static void  CALLBACK GlobalTimerProc(HWND hwnd, UINT uiMsg, 
                                          UINT idEvent, DWORD dwTime);
    void         LocalTimerProc(void);
    // ...
    static       CMapPtrToPtr        m_mapTimerIdToClassMe;

    // to call the messagebox within one line !
    static UINT  TimedMessageBox(...);

    UINT         m_idTimer;


UINT CDlgTimedMessageBox::ShowMessageBox(BOOL *pbStoppedByUser)
    // ...
    m_idTimer = ::SetTimer(NULL, 0, 1000, 
                    (TIMERPROC) CDlgTimedMessageBox::GlobalTimerProc);
    // ...
    // ...

void CALLBACK CDlgTimedMessageBox::GlobalTimerProc(HWND hwnd, 
                               UINT uiMsg, UINT idEvent, DWORD dwTime)
    CDlgTimedMessageBox    *pMe = NULL;
    // Find the corresponding class by the timer-id
                                                       (void *&) pMe);
    if( pMe!=NULL )

void CDlgTimedMessageBox::LocalTimerProc(void)
    // find the Message-Box-window

    // Calculate time since start
    if( too long running )
        // Stop MessageBox
        // replace text of MessageBox    

Finding the MessageBox

hWnd = ::GetWindow(::GetDesktopWindow(), GW_CHILD);
while( (hWnd!=NULL) && (m_hMsgBox==NULL) )
    pWnd = CWnd::FromHandle(hWnd);

    if( AfxIsDescendant(m_hParent, hWnd) && ::IsWindowVisible(hWnd) && 
        (m_Title.CompareNoCase(title)==0) )
        m_hMsgBox = hWnd;
    hWnd = ::GetWindow(hWnd, GW_HWNDNEXT);


Put it in one function

There is one function you can use to call the messagebox without creating a class-instance: CDlgTimedMessageBox::TimedMessageBox() does the rest for you!

UINT CDlgTimedMessageBox::TimedMessageBox(UINT flags, LPCTSTR ptszMessage, 
                          LPCTSTR ptszTitle, 
                          DWORD dwTimeout, UINT dDefaultReturn,
                          LPCTSTR ptszMessageTimer, HWND hwndParent, 
                          BOOL *pbStoppedByUser)
    CDlgTimedMessageBox    msgBox(flags, ptszMessage, ptszTitle, 
                                  dwTimeout, dDefaultReturn, 
                                  ptszMessageTimer, hwndParent);

    return msgBox.ShowMessageBox(pbStoppedByUser);

You can pass a BOOL * to get the info, if the user has pressed a button.



The map-access is enclosed by a CCriticalSection.


BOOL	stoppedByUser;
UINT	erg;

erg  = CDlgTimedMessageBox::TimedMessageBox(MB_YESNO|MB_ICONHAND, 
		"Please press a button", 
		5000, IDYES, 
		"\nin the next %lu sec !", 
		NULL, &stoppedByUser);


5.11.2000     posted to Code Project
14.11.2000   bugfixes for NT4
05.02.2001   bug reported when created with MBYES: defbutton then is IDCANCEL
05.02.2001   global function went to class-scope


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

Markus Loibl
Germany Germany
No Biography provided

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Comments and Discussions

QuestionHOW? Pin
TGWG6-Jul-01 8:00
memberTGWG6-Jul-01 8:00 
How can you get the program to run in the background? I am starting out and would appreciate some help!Cry | :((

AnswerRe: HOW? Pin
MLoibl17-Jul-01 21:50
memberMLoibl17-Jul-01 21:50 

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