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How to make a window always stay on top in .Net?

Posted by: admin November 29, 2017 Leave a comment

Questions:

I have a C# winforms app that runs a macro in another program. The other program will continually pop up windows and generally make things look, for lack of a better word, crazy. I want to implement a cancel button that will stop the process from running, but I cannot seem to get the window to stay on top. How do I do this in C#?

Edit: I have tried TopMost=true; , but the other program keeps popping up its own windows over top. Is there a way to send my window to the top every n milliseconds?

Edit: The way I solved this was by adding a system tray icon that will cancel the process by double-clicking on it. The system tray icon does no get covered up. Thank you to all who responded. I read the article on why there is not a ‘super-on-top’ window… it logically does not work.

Answers:

Form.TopMost will work unless the other program is creating topmost windows.

There is no way to create a window that is not covered by new topmost windows of another process. Raymond Chen explained why.

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If by “going crazy” you mean that each window keeps stealing focus from the other, TopMost will not solve the problem.

Instead, try:

CalledForm.Owner = CallerForm;
CalledForm.Show();

This will show the ‘child’ form without it stealing focus. The child form will also stay on top of its parent even if the parent is activated or focused. This code only works easily if you’ve created an instance of the child form from within the owner form. Otherwise, you might have to set the owner using the API.

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Set Form.TopMost

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I was searching to make my WinForms application “Always on Top” but setting “TopMost” did not do anything for me. I knew it was possible because WinAmp does this (along with a host of other applications).

What I did was make a call to “user32.dll.” I had no qualms about doing so and it works great. It’s an option, anyway.

First, import the following namespace:

using System.Runtime.InteropServices;

Add a few variables to your class declaration:

private static readonly IntPtr HWND_TOPMOST = new IntPtr(-1);
private const UInt32 SWP_NOSIZE = 0x0001;
private const UInt32 SWP_NOMOVE = 0x0002;
private const UInt32 TOPMOST_FLAGS = SWP_NOMOVE | SWP_NOSIZE;

Add prototype for user32.dll function:

[DllImport("user32.dll")] 
[return: MarshalAs(UnmanagedType.Bool)]
public static extern bool SetWindowPos(IntPtr hWnd, IntPtr hWndInsertAfter, int X, int Y, int cx, int cy, uint uFlags);

Then in your code (I added the call in Form_Load()), add the call:

SetWindowPos(this.Handle, HWND_TOPMOST, 0, 0, 0, 0, TOPMOST_FLAGS);

Hope that helps. Reference

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Set the form’s .TopMost property to true.

You probably don’t want to leave it this way all the time: set it when your external process starts and put it back when it finishes.

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The way i solved this was by making a system tray icon that had a cancel option.

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What is the other application you are trying to suppress the visibility of? Have you investigated other ways of achieving your desired effect? Please do so before subjecting your users to such rogue behaviour as you are describing: what you are trying to do sound rather like what certain naughty sites do with browser windows…

At least try to adhere to the rule of Least Surprise. Users expect to be able to determine the z-order of most applications themselves. You don’t know what is most important to them, so if you change anything, you should focus on pushing the other application behind everything rather than promoting your own.

This is of course trickier, since Windows doesn’t have a particularly sophisticated window manager. Two approaches suggest themselves:

  1. enumerating top-level windows
    and checking which process they
    belong to
    , dropping their
    z-order if so
    . (I’m not sure if
    there are framework methods for
    these WinAPI functions.)
  2. Fiddling with child process permissions to prevent it from accessing the desktop… but I wouldn’t try this until the othe approach failed, as the child process might end up in a zombie state while requiring user interaction.
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Why not making your form a dialogue box:

myForm.ShowDialog();

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I had a momentary 5 minute lapse and I forgot to specify the form in full like this:

  myformName.ActiveForm.TopMost = true;

But what I really wanted THIS!

  this.TopMost = true;

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Here is the SetForegroundWindow equivalent:

form.Activate();

I have seen people doing weird things like:

this.TopMost = true;
this.Focus();
this.BringToFront();
this.TopMost = false;

http://blog.jorgearimany.com/2010/10/win32-setforegroundwindow-equivalent-in.html

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The following code makes the window always stay on top as well as make it frameless.

using System;
using System.Drawing;
using System.Runtime.InteropServices;
using System.Windows.Forms;

namespace StayOnTop
{
    public partial class Form1 : Form
    {
        private static readonly IntPtr HWND_TOPMOST = new IntPtr(-1);
        private const UInt32 SWP_NOSIZE = 0x0001;
        private const UInt32 SWP_NOMOVE = 0x0002;
        private const UInt32 TOPMOST_FLAGS = SWP_NOMOVE | SWP_NOSIZE;

        [DllImport("user32.dll")]
        [return: MarshalAs(UnmanagedType.Bool)]
        public static extern bool SetWindowPos(IntPtr hWnd, IntPtr hWndInsertAfter, int X, int Y, int cx, int cy, uint uFlags);

        public Form1()
        {
            InitializeComponent();
            FormBorderStyle = FormBorderStyle.None;
            TopMost = true;
        }

        private void Form1_Load(object sender, EventArgs e)
        {
            SetWindowPos(this.Handle, HWND_TOPMOST, 100, 100, 300, 300, TOPMOST_FLAGS);
        }

        protected override void WndProc(ref Message m)
        {
            const int RESIZE_HANDLE_SIZE = 10;

            switch (m.Msg)
            {
                case 0x0084/*NCHITTEST*/ :
                    base.WndProc(ref m);

                    if ((int)m.Result == 0x01/*HTCLIENT*/)
                    {
                        Point screenPoint = new Point(m.LParam.ToInt32());
                        Point clientPoint = this.PointToClient(screenPoint);
                        if (clientPoint.Y <= RESIZE_HANDLE_SIZE)
                        {
                            if (clientPoint.X <= RESIZE_HANDLE_SIZE)
                                m.Result = (IntPtr)13/*HTTOPLEFT*/ ;
                            else if (clientPoint.X < (Size.Width - RESIZE_HANDLE_SIZE))
                                m.Result = (IntPtr)12/*HTTOP*/ ;
                            else
                                m.Result = (IntPtr)14/*HTTOPRIGHT*/ ;
                        }
                        else if (clientPoint.Y <= (Size.Height - RESIZE_HANDLE_SIZE))
                        {
                            if (clientPoint.X <= RESIZE_HANDLE_SIZE)
                                m.Result = (IntPtr)10/*HTLEFT*/ ;
                            else if (clientPoint.X < (Size.Width - RESIZE_HANDLE_SIZE))
                                m.Result = (IntPtr)2/*HTCAPTION*/ ;
                            else
                                m.Result = (IntPtr)11/*HTRIGHT*/ ;
                        }
                        else
                        {
                            if (clientPoint.X <= RESIZE_HANDLE_SIZE)
                                m.Result = (IntPtr)16/*HTBOTTOMLEFT*/ ;
                            else if (clientPoint.X < (Size.Width - RESIZE_HANDLE_SIZE))
                                m.Result = (IntPtr)15/*HTBOTTOM*/ ;
                            else
                                m.Result = (IntPtr)17/*HTBOTTOMRIGHT*/ ;
                        }
                    }
                    return;
            }
            base.WndProc(ref m);
        }

        protected override CreateParams CreateParams
        {
            get
            {
                CreateParams cp = base.CreateParams;
                cp.Style |= 0x20000; // <--- use 0x20000
                return cp;
            }
        }
    }
}