Windows 7 application UI enhancements

Heya, how’s it going?

If you have Windows applications built using .Net you may be wondering how to add all the cool new Windows 7 taskbar and common dialog features? These are all accessible as native api but we’re in .Net dude – looks like we’re pinvoking!

Thankfully, all this work has been done for us in the Windows API Code Pack for Microsoft .Net Framework. We’ll just refer to it as the code pack from here on.

The code pack is an evolution of the Windows Vista Bridge sample. It has been extended with some of the new Windows 7 API functions.

Using the code pack – which is a accessible as a static library in our applications – you can do stuff like:

  • Windows 7 Taskbar Jump Lists, Icon Overlay, Progress Bar, Tabbed Thumbnails, and Thumbnail Toolbars.
  • Windows 7 Libraries, Known Folders, non-file system containers.
  • Windows Shell Search API support, a hierarchy of Shell Namespace entities, and Drag and Drop functionality for Shell Objects.
  • Explorer Browser Control.
  • Shell property system.
  • Windows Vista and Windows 7 Common File Dialogs, including custom controls.
  • Windows Vista and Windows 7 Task Dialogs.
  • Direct3D 11.0, Direct3D 10.1/10.0, DXGI 1.0/1.1, Direct2D 1.0, DirectWrite, Windows Imaging Component (WIC) APIs. (DirectWrite and WIC have partial support)
  • Sensor Platform APIs
  • Extended Linguistic Services APIs
  • Power Management APIs
  • Application Restart and Recovery APIs
  • Network List Manager APIs
  • Command Link control and System defined Shell icons.


To start making your application ‘light up’ on Windows 7 consider how easily you can add the following functionality by reviewing the linked videos. Each video is less than 2mins in length – demonstrating just how quickly you can enhance you application with the latest Windows 7 stuff!

Add a Windows Explorer control to enhance user navigation.

Use the latest up to date Common File Dialog

Add taskbar features to your application such as:

Jump lists

Progress bars

Overlay images

We’ll cover more advanced code pack features over the coming weeks, but get these enhancements sorted in your app ASAP.

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