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Own-thread Win32 splash screen

, 20 Jun 2008 CDDL
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Implementation of an own-thread splash screen, with a progress indicator using Win32 and GDI+.

Sample screenshot


Using MFC-based classes -- even with your own threads -- may lead to hang-up of the splash screen repainting while loading the application. This is because MFC has synchronization on the message queue level. So, the application stops responding to the user. CSplashWnd is a class that makes it easy to use splash screens that can always paint themselves. It is implemented using the Win32 API, but you can use it in MFC applications, as well.

How to Use the Class

The CSplashWnd uses GDI+ to show images. It allows you to use a variety of image types including BMP, GIF, JPEG, PNG, TIFF and EMF. However, you have to initialize the GDI+ library:

// Before using CSplashWnd

GdiplusStartupInput gdiplusStartupInput;
ULONG_PTR gdiplusToken;
GdiplusStartup(&gdiplusToken, &gdiplusStartupInput, NULL);


// Somewhere in the end of your program


The use of CSplashWnd is very simple. Just add SplashWnd.cpp and SplashWnd.h into your project and then include SplashWnd.h in your program. To initialize the splash screen, use CSplashWnd::SetImage. This method sets the image you want to see while loading the application. It can look like this:


CSplashWnd splash;

// ... Some long operation



The splash screen can have a button on the taskbar. It is created only if CSplashWnd::SetWindowName is invoked before CSplashWnd::Show. A button on the taskbar may be useful if the splash screen appears before any window is created. In that case, the user can easily find the application. You can indicate the loading progress using the CSplashWnd::SetProgress method. The first call of CSplashWnd::SetProgress leads to creating a progress control at the bottom of the splash window. It also sets the progress control to the initial state. All subsequent calls just update the progress state.

You could show more details of loading or computing process by passing text description of progress stage to CSplashWnd::SetProgress method using text string or string resource ID as additional input parameter.


splash.SetProgress(0, L"Loading...");

for (int i =0; i < 100; ++i)
  // compute something

  // ...


splash.SetProgress(100, L"Done.");


If the length of the loading operation is known, you'll want to use the CSplashWnd::SetAutoProgress method. It automatically updates the progress state using its own timer. At the moment, it updates the state one step per second. The previous code will now look like:


splash.SetAutoProgress(0, 100, 100);

for (int i =0; i < 100; ++i)
  // compute something

  // here we know that one loop takes one second




  • August 9, 2006 - The class was written.
  • May 25, 2007 - Some synchronization has been added and the timer message ID has been fixed.
  • June 20, 2008 - New features: multimonitor support, text progress status, support for external resource handles.


This article, along with any associated source code and files, is licensed under The Common Development and Distribution License (CDDL)


About the Author

Kirill V. Lyadvinsky
Team Leader
Russian Federation Russian Federation
C++ Developer. In 2002 developed the first automatic eBay bidder (Last Minute Bidder) for Paragon Software GmbH.
Now - Head of R&D laboratory in ElVEES R&D center of Microelectronics.

Comments and Discussions

QuestionDoesnt work in x64? [modified] PinmemberMember 1017777329-Jul-13 14:09 
AnswerRe: Doesnt work in x64? PinmemberKirill V. Lyadvinsky4-Aug-13 19:23 
Questionvisual studio 2010 release build PinmemberAlhajiBello29-Sep-12 9:30 
AnswerRe: visual studio 2010 release build PinmemberKirill V. Lyadvinsky1-Oct-12 8:32 
AnswerRe: visual studio 2010 release build PinmemberAlhajiBello1-Oct-12 22:46 
GeneralAdded code to getImage from resource PinmemberMember 78479692-Jun-11 9:14 
QuestionAnimated Gif Support PinmemberT.Haberkern30-Jun-07 9:32 
AnswerRe: Animated Gif Support PinmemberMihai Moga20-Jun-08 15:28 
GeneralCompile example with Studio2003 PinmemberBen_AH5-Jun-07 0:36 
GeneralI can't see the progress bar in the sample project PinmemberAlexZherdev24-May-07 13:18 

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