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Handling that Pesky Windows ControlBox

  • By Paul Kimmel
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Button1_Click returns to the MainForm via the ApplicationContext and My feature. Button2_Click is the actual Cancel button, and WndProc actually receives all messages and is a convenient place to check for WM_SYSCOMMAND and SC_CLOSE. The constant values are defined by the Windows API. (Any time you need such values, you usually can find their integer value by searching by name.)

WndProc is called a lot. If you put too much code in there, your application will suffer performance issues. However, in your case you are inserting about four bytes of code and shutting down if the if..conditional check succeeds.


I wrote this article because I was tinkering with a utility wizard and stumbled on the problem. I diligently searched the web for a clean solution and really didn't like what was out there. When I wrote my wizard, every form registered with a controller. All of the navigation was in the controller, including Next, Back, and Cancel. This approach facilitates centralized navigation. Further, every form except the main form is closed when not in use. I don't like Hide and Seek forms. I quickly realized that turning the ControlBox off was the easiest way to get out of the dilemma, but then the user lost the convenience of the ControlBox but could still close with Alt+F4, resulting in the original problem happening a different way. As a result, it seemed necessary to figure out how to handle a mid-stream wizard form close.

After running a few wizards in Visual Studio, it was apparent that Microsoft leaves the ControlBox in place and supports the expected close behavior. Because I couldn't find a specific event, the WndProc naturally came to mind. The WndProc after all is the universal message/event handler. After that, it was a matter of writing the Msg and WParam and LParam from WndProc to the Debug Output window, clicking the ControlBox, and looking for my event. Finding the event name, I looked it (WM_SYSCOMMAND) up on the web and homed in on what I needed.

About the Author

Paul Kimmel is the VB Today columnist for www.codeguru.com and has written several books on object-oriented programming and .NET. Check out his upcoming book LINQ Unleashed for C#, now available on Amazon.com and in fine bookstores everywhere. You may contact him for technology questions at pkimmel@softconcepts.com.

Copyright © 2008 by Paul T. Kimmel. All Rights Reserved.

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This article was originally published on September 30, 2008

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