Enhanced Windows List Developer Studio Addin


Desktop-as-a-Service Designed for Any Cloud ? Nutanix Frame

Environment: VC++ 6.0/SP4, W2K, W9X


Ever got frustrated with unpredictable behavior of standard Visual Studio "Windows" dialog box? EnhancedWindowList is an add-in that unobtrusively replaces standard "Windows" dialog and provides extended functionality. Its features include (see picture above):

  • Windows list may be sorted by document name, path, type and status.
  • Windows may be filtered by document type. For example, you can select to include into list only windows with *.C;*.CPP;*.CXX or *.TLI document.
  • Document path is always shown.
  • Size of the dialog window may be changed.
  • Current settings (types of windows to be included into list, sorting criteria, width of columns, sizes and position of the window) are saved and restored while dialog initialization.
  • This dialog is actual replacement for standard dialog. You need not assign special key or toolbar button to invoke it. It will be always shown instead of standard dialog in spite of way it is invoked.


  • Build the EnhancedWindowList.dsp project (or unzip downloaded EnhancedWindowList_demo.zip) and copy EnhancedWindowList.dll into Program Files\microsoft visual studio\common\msdev98\addins
  • Open Tools | Customize | Add-ins and Macro Files and tick "Inpek 7th world EnhancedWindowList".
  • Window | Windows... You should have replaced dialog.


This add-in most likely would not work in non-english versions of DevStudio. It is due to way it is trying to determine that standard "Windows" dialog is initializing. See section "How it works" for more details.

Context help is not implemented.

I have only been able to test the add-in in VC6.0. It should work in 5.0, but if it doesn't you are welcome to fix it and I will incorporate any changes into the original.

How it works

On loading, the add-in registers a thread wide window procedure hook, which it uses to wait for WM_INITDIALOG on the "Windows" dialog. This technique have been first used by Simon Capewell in his excellent DevTrueColor add-in. We use the existence of a couple of buttons to verify the identity of the dialog. These buttons are Tile Horizontally and Tile Vertically. We check their IDs and texts to be sure that we are trying to intercept proper dialog box. The original dialog box is hidden, and the Enhanced Windows List dialog is created.


About the author

Yuri Tkachov is a leading programmer and owner of Inpek 7th world. He is also an (co-)author of several programming-related books, one of which is rather popular: "DirectX-Programmierung mit Visual C++", Addison-Wesley, ISBN 3-8273-1389-9 (in German). He's been programming in Algol/Assembler/Fortran/C/C++ for 15 years and Visual C++/MFC for 5 years. His background includes pure and applied mathematics, computational methods and computer graphics.

Click here to visit Yuri Tkachov's homepage, which is more likely to have updates and betas of EnhancedWindowList Add-in.


Download demo project - 30 Kb
Download source - 43 Kb


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