Click here to Skip to main content
14,037,160 members
Click here to Skip to main content
Add your own
alternative version


91 bookmarked
Posted 26 Jun 2005
Licenced CPOL

Shell Tray Info - Arrange your system tray icons

, 26 Jun 2005
Rate this:
Please Sign up or sign in to vote.
A tool with full source code that enumerates tray icons and allows you to reposition them as well as send mouse messages.


The Tray Icon Info application lets you enumerate your system tray icons and rearrange their positions, so that you can have your more frequently used icons positioned to the left most side (or right most depending on your personal preference). I wrote this as I got used to having the MSN Messenger icon on the left most side of the tray and found it annoying and inconvenient when newly added icons pushed it to the right. I had to exit and restart MSN Messenger to reposition it where I wanted. This application simplifies things for me.

Supported OS

This application only works on Windows XP. It may run on Windows 2003 too, but since I wasn't sure and since I didn't have the option to test it out, I have a version check and the program exits if it's a non-XP OS. If anyone's interested, they can comment out the version check and run it in on 2003 - but I have no idea as to whether it'll work or not.


  • For some tray icons, I am unable to retrieve the icon, so I show a red octagon with a white question mark.
  • Using the toolbar or the menu, you can send a left click, right click or a double click message to the tray icon.
  • You can use the << and >> icons to move the icons around the tray.
  • Copy (Ctrl-C) will copy some textual info to the clipboard (includes both the tool-tip text as well as the owner process path).
  • Double clicking an entry in the list view is equivalent to sending a double-click message.
  • The tray has hidden icons - mostly put there by Explorer. These icons won't have tool-tips.
  • And er, if you are wondering why the toolbar icons look so ghastly, guess who designed them!

Technical notes

The trick used here is to enumerate the buttons of the ToolbarWindow32 window that represents the system tray. The following code is used to locate this window (routine FindWindow/FindWindowEx stuff) :-

HWND FindTrayToolbarWindow()
    HWND hWnd = ::FindWindow(_T("Shell_TrayWnd"), NULL);
        hWnd = ::FindWindowEx(hWnd,NULL,_T("TrayNotifyWnd"), NULL);
            hWnd = ::FindWindowEx(hWnd,NULL,_T("SysPager"), NULL);
                hWnd = ::FindWindowEx(hWnd, NULL,_T("ToolbarWindow32"), NULL);
    return hWnd;

Now I retrieve the count of tray icons :-

int count = (int)::SendMessage(m_hTrayWnd, TB_BUTTONCOUNT, 0, 0);

The number won't match the number of visible icons because of some hidden icons inserted by Explorer + the Hide Inactive Icons setting may be enabled.

BTW to retrieve toolbar info for each button, I use my CProcessData class. [CProcessData is a template class that makes it easy to use data allocated in a different process, and is useful when making inter-process SendMessage/PostMessage calls]

The dwData member of each TBBUTTON structure of the toolbar points to an undocumented structure. The first few bytes of the structure are as follows (on XP anyway) :-

    HWND hwnd;                
    UINT uID;                
    UINT uCallbackMessage;    
    DWORD Reserved[2];        
    HICON hIcon;                

There's more info, but I am not sure what the rest of it means. Reserved[0] has something to do with the visibility state of an icon when the Hide Inactive Icons setting is enabled, but it's behavior was too sporadic for me to give it a proper meaning and since I didn't really want that info, I didn't bother too much. All my Google searches on this undocumented structure resulted in nothing. It's times like this when you wish Windows provided full source code :-(

Anyway here's the code I use to retrieve the rest of the information I require.

CProcessData<TBBUTTON> data(dwTrayPid);
TBBUTTON tb = {0};
TRAYDATA tray = {0};
TrayItemInfo tifo = {0};

for(int i=0; i<count; i++)
    ::SendMessage(m_hTrayWnd, TB_GETBUTTON, i, (LPARAM)data.GetData());        

    DWORD dwProcessId = 0;

    tifo.sProcessPath = GetFilenameFromPid(dwProcessId);        

    wchar_t TipChar;
    wchar_t sTip[1024] = {0};
    wchar_t* pTip = (wchar_t*)tb.iString;        

        int x = 0;
            if(x == 1023)
                wcscpy(sTip,L"[ToolTip was either too long or not set]");    
            data.ReadData<wchar_t>(&TipChar, (LPCVOID)pTip++); 
        }while(sTip[x++] = TipChar);
        wcscpy(sTip,L"[Hidden Icon]");                

    tifo.sTip = W2T(sTip);

    tifo.hwnd = tray.hwnd;
    tifo.uCallbackMessage = tray.uCallbackMessage;
    tifo.uID = tray.uID;

    tifo.bVisible = !(tb.fsState & TBSTATE_HIDDEN);

    int iconindex = 0;
    ICONINFO  iinfo;
    if(GetIconInfo(tray.hIcon,&iinfo) != 0)
        iconindex = m_Image16List.Add(tray.hIcon);

For the rest of the code, see the included source code zip.



  • June 21, 2005 : Began work on the app.
  • June 27, 2005 : Published on The Code Project.


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


About the Author

Nish Nishant
United States United States
Nish Nishant is a Principal Software Architect based out of Columbus, Ohio. He has over 17 years of software industry experience in various roles including Lead Software Architect, Principal Software Engineer, and Product Manager. Nish was a Microsoft Visual C++ MVP between 2002 and 2015.

Nish is an industry acknowledged expert in the Microsoft technology stack. He authored C++/CLI in Action for Manning Publications in 2005, and had previously co-authored Extending MFC Applications with the .NET Framework for Addison Wesley in 2003. In addition, he has over 140 published technology articles on and another 250+ blog articles on his WordPress blog. Nish is vastly experienced in team management, mentoring teams, and directing all stages of software development.

Contact Nish : If you are interested in hiring Nish as a consultant, you can reach him via his google email id voidnish.

Company Website :

You may also be interested in...

Comments and Discussions

AnswerRe: Non-MFC Pin
Nish Nishant19-Aug-06 6:28
sitebuilderNish Nishant19-Aug-06 6:28 
GeneralRe: Non-MFC Pin
NateD19-Aug-06 10:39
memberNateD19-Aug-06 10:39 
AnswerRe: Non-MFC Pin
_Kel_28-Sep-06 7:04
member_Kel_28-Sep-06 7:04 
QuestionRe: Non-MFC Pin
dfhgesart8-Jul-07 12:04
memberdfhgesart8-Jul-07 12:04 
GeneralGetIconInfo(tray.hIcon,&amp;iinfo) -&gt; You have forgotten to delete the bitmaps Pin
michele_cv5-Sep-05 1:30
membermichele_cv5-Sep-05 1:30 
Generaldo not work under WinXP Pin
Country Man2-Aug-05 21:04
memberCountry Man2-Aug-05 21:04 
GeneralRe: do not work under WinXP Pin
Nish Nishant19-Aug-06 6:27
sitebuilderNish Nishant19-Aug-06 6:27 
Questionhow to hide/unhide icons in the systray? Pin
jojo291185-Jul-05 8:48
memberjojo291185-Jul-05 8:48 

First, excuse my bad english, it's not my native language (I'm French).
Then, is it possible, starting with your code, to create a function which could hide/unhide any process' icon in the system tray too (not only in the taskbar)???
How must I do?


AnswerRe: how to hide/unhide icons in the systray? Pin
swarup4-Jan-07 5:55
memberswarup4-Jan-07 5:55 
GeneralExcellent! Pin
Paul Vickery27-Jun-05 6:05
professionalPaul Vickery27-Jun-05 6:05 
GeneralRe: Excellent! Pin
Nish Nishant3-Jul-05 20:01
sitebuilderNish Nishant3-Jul-05 20:01 
GeneralNice work Pin
Shog927-Jun-05 5:17
sitebuilderShog927-Jun-05 5:17 
GeneralRe: Nice work Pin
Nish Nishant3-Jul-05 20:00
sitebuilderNish Nishant3-Jul-05 20:00 
QuestionWhat about other OS Pin
KarstenK26-Jun-05 21:57
mveKarstenK26-Jun-05 21:57 
AnswerRe: What about other OS Pin
Nish Nishant27-Jun-05 0:23
sitebuilderNish Nishant27-Jun-05 0:23 
ThatsAlok26-Jun-05 20:20
memberThatsAlok26-Jun-05 20:20 
GeneralRe: FAST, VERY FAST Pin
Nish Nishant26-Jun-05 20:26
sitebuilderNish Nishant26-Jun-05 20:26 

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

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

Permalink | Advertise | Privacy | Cookies | Terms of Use | Mobile
Web06 | 2.8.190424.1 | Last Updated 27 Jun 2005
Article Copyright 2005 by Nish Nishant
Everything else Copyright © CodeProject, 1999-2019
Layout: fixed | fluid