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XDriveBar - Display drive buttons in a fixed toolbar

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4.70 (17 votes)
11 Aug 2003CPOL
XDriveBar implements a drive bar for the drives in a system. The demo project shows how to keep the drive bar in sync by handling the WM_DEVICECHANGE message.


One of my favorite tools is the free 2xExplorer. It offers a very handy dual pane + tree view that really helps when you are working in several different directories. You can see some of the ways you can use 2xExplorer here. Anyway, one of the interesting things about 2xExplorer is that it has a drive bar next to the tree view, with a button for each drive that will take you to that drive. This is much faster than scrolling through a tree to get to a drive. Please note that the drive bar presented here is a fixed toolbar - not movable or dockable by the user.

The Demo App

The demo app shows two drive bars, one vertical and one horizontal:


The buttons will show the drive label on the tooltip:


The dialog box can be resized, and the drive bars will also resize:


When a new drive is added (for example, a USB disk drive), the drive bars are automatically updated via the WM_DEVICECHANGE message:


Implementation Notes

CXDriveBar is derived from CXToolBar, which keeps track of the button locations and creates new CXPStyleButtonST buttons when necessary. The CXDriveBar class loads the system image list, determines what drives exist, and adds the drives to the drive bar via CXToolBar::AddButton().

The code in XDriveBarTestDlg.cpp takes care of creating the drive bars, and also contains the WM_DEVICECHANGE handler (this message is only sent to top-level windows). When a removable device (like a USB disk) is added or removed, several WM_DEVICECHANGE messages are sent. The demo app handles these messages by starting a 1½ second timer when it receives each WM_DEVICECHANGE message, so that the arrival of each message effectively restarts the timer. After the last WM_DEVICECHANGE message, the 1½ second timer ensures that the device is fully installed before updating the drive bars.

Because I wanted an etched look for the border of the drive bar, I decided to use a picture control for the frame, with the color set to etched. The picture control also serves as a placeholder on the dialog template for the drive bar.

How To Use

To integrate CXDriveBar into your app, you first need to add the following files to your project:

  • SystemImageList.cpp
  • SystemImageList.h
  • ThemeHelperST.cpp
  • ThemeHelperST.h
  • XBtnST.cpp
  • XBtnST.h
  • XDriveBar.cpp
  • XDriveBar.h
  • XPStyleButtonST.cpp
  • XPStyleButtonST.h
  • XToolBar.cpp
  • XToolBar.h

Next, include header file XDriveBar.h in appropriate project files (usually, dialog header files). You will probably want to copy and modify some of the code in XDriveBarTestDlg.cpp, such as CXDriveBarTestDlg::CreateDriveBars(), CXDriveBarTestDlg::OnDriveSelected(), CXDriveBarTestDlg::OnDeviceChange(), and CXDriveBarTestDlg::OnTimer().

Revision History

Version 1.0 - 2003 August 11

  • Initial public release.


  • Thanks to PJ Naughter for the CSystemImageList class: CTreeFileCtrl.
  • Thanks to Davide Calabro for the CXPStyleButtonST class: CXPStyleButtonST.


This software is released into the public domain. You are free to use it in any way you like. If you modify it or extend it, please to consider posting new code here for everyone to share. This software is provided "as is" with no expressed or implied warranty. I accept no liability for any damage or loss of business that this software may cause.


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


About the Author

Hans Dietrich
Software Developer (Senior) Hans Dietrich Software
United States United States
I attended St. Michael's College of the University of Toronto, with the intention of becoming a priest. A friend in the University's Computer Science Department got me interested in programming, and I have been hooked ever since.

Recently, I have moved to Los Angeles where I am doing consulting and development work.

For consulting and custom software development, please see

Comments and Discussions

QuestionReagrding USB Device Pin
wahiajay20-Sep-06 22:05
memberwahiajay20-Sep-06 22:05 
Generalthanks Pin
fiveinone31-Oct-04 10:54
memberfiveinone31-Oct-04 10:54 
GeneralNice article but... Pin
Le Ridder Noir12-Aug-03 21:48
memberLe Ridder Noir12-Aug-03 21:48 

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Posted 11 Aug 2003


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