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Posted 26 Jun 2005

Shell Tray Info - Arrange your system tray icons

, 26 Jun 2005 CPOL
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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 the Principal Software Architect/Consultant for Ganymede Software Solutions LLC, and is 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 :

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Comments and Discussions

SuggestionMaking it work on WoW64 [modified] Pin
mklencke12-Aug-11 5:04
membermklencke12-Aug-11 5:04 
Here's some code to get the process IDs of icons from your 32-bit application running on a 64-bit OS. You can actually read memory of a 64-bit process from a 32-bit process, as long as the addresses are below the 4GB barrier.


BOOL IsWow64()
	static bool isset = false;
    static BOOL bIsWow64 = FALSE;

	if (isset) {
		return bIsWow64;

    //IsWow64Process is not available on all supported versions of Windows.
    //Use GetModuleHandle to get a handle to the DLL that contains the function
    //and GetProcAddress to get a pointer to the function if available.

    LPFN_ISWOW64PROCESS fnIsWow64Process = (LPFN_ISWOW64PROCESS) GetProcAddress(

    if(NULL != fnIsWow64Process)
        if (!fnIsWow64Process(GetCurrentProcess(),&bIsWow64))
            //TODO handle error?
			return FALSE;

	isset = true;
    return bIsWow64;

typedef struct _TBBUTTON64 {
    int iBitmap;
    int idCommand;
    BYTE fsState;
    BYTE fsStyle;
    BYTE bReserved[6];
	DWORD64 dwData;
    DWORD64 iString;
typedef const TBBUTTON64 *LPCTBBUTTON64;

bool EnumSystemTray() {	
	bool bFound = false;
	// find system tray window
	HWND trayWnd = FindWindow(_T("Shell_TrayWnd"), NULL);
	if (trayWnd) {
		trayWnd = FindWindowEx(trayWnd, NULL,_T("TrayNotifyWnd"), NULL);
		if (trayWnd) {
			trayWnd = FindWindowEx(trayWnd, NULL,_T("SysPager"), NULL);
			if (trayWnd) {				
				trayWnd = FindWindowEx(trayWnd, NULL,_T("ToolbarWindow32"), NULL);
				bFound = true;


	DWORD dwTrayPid;
	GetWindowThreadProcessId(trayWnd, &dwTrayPid);

	int count = (int) SendMessage(trayWnd, TB_BUTTONCOUNT, 0, 0);

	HANDLE hProcess = OpenProcess(PROCESS_ALL_ACCESS, FALSE, dwTrayPid);
	if (!hProcess) {
		return true;

	BOOL bIsWow64 = IsWow64();

	SIZE_T dwSize = bIsWow64 ? sizeof(TBBUTTON64) : sizeof(TBBUTTON);
	LPVOID lpData = VirtualAllocEx(hProcess, NULL, dwSize, MEM_COMMIT, PAGE_READWRITE);
	if (!lpData) {
		return true;

	// Loop through all systray icons
	for (int i = 0; i < count; i++) {
		HWND hwnd32;

		SendMessage(trayWnd, TB_GETBUTTON, i, (LPARAM)lpData);
		if ( bIsWow64 ) {
			// Try to read memory from 64-bit Explorer process. Hope the address of the traybar data is below 4GB

			TBBUTTON64 tbb;
			if (!ReadProcessMemory(hProcess, lpData, (LPVOID)&tbb, sizeof(TBBUTTON64), NULL)) {

			DWORD64 hwnd;

			// First member of TRAYDATA structure is HWND, so we can just use the address of the struct to read the member
			if (!ReadProcessMemory(hProcess, (LPCVOID)tbb.dwData, (LPVOID)&hwnd, sizeof(DWORD64), NULL)) {

			// Hope this does not get truncated, but we shouldn't have that many windows
			hwnd32 = (HWND)hwnd;
		} else {
			TBBUTTON tbb;
			if (!ReadProcessMemory(hProcess, lpData, (LPVOID)&tbb, sizeof(TBBUTTON), NULL)) {

			DWORD32 hwnd;

			// First member of TRAYDATA structure is HWND, so we can just use the address of the struct to read the member
			if (!ReadProcessMemory(hProcess, (LPCVOID)tbb.dwData, (LPVOID)&hwnd, sizeof(DWORD32), NULL)) {

			hwnd32 = (HWND)hwnd;

		DWORD dwProcessId = 0;
		GetWindowThreadProcessId(hwnd32, &dwProcessId);

		// XXX - DO SOMETHING WITH dwProcessId

	VirtualFreeEx(hProcess, lpData, NULL, MEM_RELEASE);

	return true;

modified on Monday, August 15, 2011 7:32 AM

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