Tag Archives: SendMessage

Recycling a Third Party Application with System Tray Icon

I had a need to recycle a third party application that had a system tray icon.  The application controlled hardware  and would get into a funky state.

The application was titled the “user mode driver” but I’m not totally sure if it was the user mode driver framework that Microsoft touted with Vista.  The user mode driver (UMD) was really a bridge process between the Ethernet port and a COM (a.k.a. the older timer component object model) in-process DLL that resided in your program memory space.

The UMD also had a system tray component to it that needed a little cleanup when the application was killed.   The sytem tray icon was left behind.

This post is recycling other’s work that we will reference.  This post is about bringing it all together in C#.

There are three parts to this option.

  1. Stop the process
  2. Restart the process
  3. Clean up the system tray.

For this example though, we will assume that we know the full path to the process and that the process name is the base file name without extension.

Stop the Process

C# has a handy way to stop processes.

private void StopUserModeDriver(string userModeDriverPath)
  Process[] procs = null;

    procs = Process.GetProcessesByName(Path.GetFileNameWithoutExtension(userModeDriverPath));

    foreach (Process proc in procs)
    if (procs != null)
      foreach (Process proc in procs)

Restart the Process

This one is simple.

private void StartUserModeDriver(string userModeDriverPath)

Clean Up the System Tray

This code is present here and we will show it again on this post.

public struct RECT
  public int left;
  public int top;
  public int right;
  public int bottom;
public static extern IntPtr FindWindow(string lpClassName, string lpWindowName);
public static extern IntPtr FindWindowEx(IntPtr hwndParent, IntPtr hwndChildAfter, string lpszClass, string lpszWindow);
public static extern bool GetClientRect(IntPtr hWnd, out RECT lpRect);
public static extern IntPtr SendMessage(IntPtr hWnd, uint msg, int wParam, int lParam);

private void RemoveOrphanedIconsFromSystemTray()
  IntPtr systemTrayContainerHandle = FindWindow("Shell_TrayWnd", null);
  IntPtr systemTrayHandle = FindWindowEx(systemTrayContainerHandle, IntPtr.Zero, "TrayNotifyWnd", null);
  IntPtr sysPagerHandle = FindWindowEx(systemTrayHandle, IntPtr.Zero, "SysPager", null);
  IntPtr notificationAreaHandle = FindWindowEx(sysPagerHandle, IntPtr.Zero, "ToolbarWindow32", "Notification Area");
  if (notificationAreaHandle == IntPtr.Zero)
    notificationAreaHandle = FindWindowEx(sysPagerHandle, IntPtr.Zero, "ToolbarWindow32", "User Promoted Notification Area");
    IntPtr notifyIconOverflowWindowHandle = FindWindow("NotifyIconOverflowWindow", null);
    IntPtr overflowNotificationAreaHandle = FindWindowEx(notifyIconOverflowWindowHandle, IntPtr.Zero, "ToolbarWindow32", "Overflow Notification Area");

private static void RefreshSystemTrayArea(IntPtr windowHandle)
  const uint wmMousemove = 0x0200;
  RECT rect;
  GetClientRect(windowHandle, out rect);
  for (var x = 0; x < rect.right; x += 5)
    for (var y = 0; y < rect.bottom; y += 5)
      SendMessage(windowHandle, wmMousemove, 0, (y << 16) + x);

Essentially, we are getting window handles to the notification area that is on your system tray and also the  overflow area introduced in Windows 7 (don’t know about Vista – does anyone remember Vista?).  That is the little arrow icon in the system tray that opens a little popup where all pestering but insignificant applications’ system tray icons live.

Do you remember how you have an orphaned system tray icon so you move your mouse over it to find magically disappears?  That is exactly what this code does.  With the Window handles to the system tray and overflow, we simply move our mouse repeatedly up and down and left to right.  We don’t actually move the cursor, just send the windows message.

There was another solution presented somewhere (on code project but I can’t find it now) that got information in the private bytes of the window allocations to determine if a process was still operating.  This approach was more pristine but did some memory allocation tricks in C# that made me nervous.  Sending mouse messages was certainly safer although not elegant.