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Posted 3 Aug 2005


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A flicker issue in MDI applications

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3.10/5 (13 votes)
23 Aug 20051 min read
Provides a fix to the flicker problem in MDI applications.

Sample Image - MDIFlickDemo.jpg


This article illustrates how to fix a common flicker problem in MDI applications when you create or activate an MDI child and an application is in maximized state. You catch a glimpse of the new activated MDI child shown at the picture above.

To reproduce the problem:

  1. Create a new MFC MDI application project.
  2. Run and maximize the application.
  3. In maximized state, create a few MDI children and try switching between them.

When you create a new or activate an inactive window, you will see the flicker.


The solution to the problem is very simple. The flicker comes from drawing the caption, the frame and the client area of the restored MDI child. To eliminate it, override "WindowProc" in your class derived from CMDIChildWnd. For the non-client area, filter WM_NCPAINT message, and for the client area, handle WM_SIZE message like this:

if(message==WM_SIZE) // client area
    if(wParam==SIZE_MAXIMIZED && pChildFrame==this)
    // active and maximized
        return CMDIChildWnd::WindowProc(message, wParam, lParam);

    SetRedraw(FALSE); // disable drawing
    LRESULT ret = CMDIChildWnd::WindowProc(message, 
                   wParam, lParam); // default Window procedure
    SetRedraw(); // enable drawing
    return  ret;

In the previous version of this article I also filtered message 174. Ignoring this message prevents drawing non-themed caption buttons. The picture of the buttons looks like this:

Caption Buttons

This message is also sent when a window is restored. Now drawing for restored windows is disabled, so we don't need "message==174" in the "if" statement anymore.

I have also added if(message==WM_NCPAINT || message==WM_SIZE) as a first line in the window procedure. It prevents from assertion in objcore.cpp (AfxAssertValidObject) when you try to close the MDI child, the view is derived from CHtmlView and the active configuration is "Debug".

So the workaround code looks like this:

LRESULT CChildFrame::WindowProc(UINT message, 
                       WPARAM wParam, LPARAM lParam) 
    if(message==WM_NCPAINT || message==WM_SIZE)
        BOOL bMax;
        CMDIFrameWnd* pParentFrame = (CMDIFrameWnd*)GetParentFrame();
            CMDIChildWnd* pChildFrame = pParentFrame->MDIGetActive(&bMax);
                if(message==WM_NCPAINT) // non client area
                    return 0;
                if(message==WM_SIZE) // client area
                    if(wParam==SIZE_MAXIMIZED && 
                       pChildFrame==this) // active and maximized
                      return CMDIChildWnd::WindowProc(message, wParam, lParam);

                    LRESULT ret = 
                      CMDIChildWnd::WindowProc(message, wParam, lParam);
                    return  ret;
    return CMDIChildWnd::WindowProc(message, wParam, lParam);

A demo application

Check/uncheck the "FIX" button to enable/disable the fix code.


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Comments and Discussions

QuestionA workaround solution for the flickering problem Pin
szorik31-Jul-11 22:55
Memberszorik31-Jul-11 22:55 
QuestionMaximize window Pin
manojv18-Oct-07 0:51
Membermanojv18-Oct-07 0:51 
GeneralSolution for Managed Code Pin
tonyt8-Jul-07 18:47
Membertonyt8-Jul-07 18:47 
GeneralKeyboard navigation Pin
Marcus Deecke27-Apr-07 1:26
MemberMarcus Deecke27-Apr-07 1:26 
AnswerThe Real solutions Pin
Ali Rafiee9-Feb-06 5:30
MemberAli Rafiee9-Feb-06 5:30 
GeneralAlternative Pin
Gast12824-Aug-05 22:10
MemberGast12824-Aug-05 22:10 
GeneralSmall correction Pin
Andrzej Markowski14-Aug-05 7:44
MemberAndrzej Markowski14-Aug-05 7:44 
GeneralA correct version of the code Pin
Andrzej Markowski13-Aug-05 10:04
MemberAndrzej Markowski13-Aug-05 10:04 
GeneralGood enough to say, "Seemed to have solved the flickering issue." Pin
WREY13-Aug-05 11:51
MemberWREY13-Aug-05 11:51 
GeneralCase where code doesnt work Pin
picazo23-Jan-06 12:14
Memberpicazo23-Jan-06 12:14 
GeneralRe: Case where code doesnt work Pin
Andrzej Markowski26-Jan-06 16:17
MemberAndrzej Markowski26-Jan-06 16:17 
QuestionWouldn't LockWindowUpdate be better and easier? Pin
Member 218767811-Aug-05 4:45
MemberMember 218767811-Aug-05 4:45 
AnswerRe: Wouldn't LockWindowUpdate be better and easier? Pin
robrich12-Aug-05 4:36
Memberrobrich12-Aug-05 4:36 
GeneralIn C# Pin
robrich10-Aug-05 21:05
Memberrobrich10-Aug-05 21:05 
GeneralRe: In C# Pin
robrich12-Aug-05 4:26
Memberrobrich12-Aug-05 4:26 
GeneralRe: In C# Pin
Tim McCurdy30-Aug-05 4:28
MemberTim McCurdy30-Aug-05 4:28 
GeneralRe: In C# Pin
robrich30-Aug-05 6:22
Memberrobrich30-Aug-05 6:22 
GeneralRe: In C# Pin
robrich30-Aug-05 6:30
Memberrobrich30-Aug-05 6:30 
GeneralRe: In C# Pin
Tim McCurdy30-Aug-05 16:01
MemberTim McCurdy30-Aug-05 16:01 
GeneralRe: In C# [modified] Pin
Ming Liu21-Jul-06 17:55
MemberMing Liu21-Jul-06 17:55 
GeneralRe: In C# Pin
Ivo Yueh20-Oct-06 11:39
MemberIvo Yueh20-Oct-06 11:39 
GeneralRe: In C# Pin
laurent p15-May-07 19:41
Memberlaurent p15-May-07 19:41 
GeneralRe: Infragistics TabbedMDIManager flicker Pin
Mark Treveil1-Jul-07 10:56
MemberMark Treveil1-Jul-07 10:56 
GeneralMy friend flicker Pin
RancidCrabtree10-Aug-05 13:10
MemberRancidCrabtree10-Aug-05 13:10 
GeneralSometimes it still flickers. Pin
WREY4-Aug-05 6:57
MemberWREY4-Aug-05 6:57 

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