Windows 7 Features and Windows Forms

Windows 7 has new features that you can take advantage of by using the Windows API Code Pack when you create Windows Forms applications. The Windows API Code Pack provides the COM Interop (Visual Basic) code that lets your managed code interoperate with the native Windows APIs, and lets you use many Windows features in your managed applications.

Windows 7 includes new features and capabilities that you can use in your applications to improve the user experience. The following is a list of some of the features. Some of these features are also available in Windows Vista.


For more information about how to develop for Windows 7, see the Windows 7 Developer Guide.

  • Shell Enhancements

    • Jump Lists - The Windows 7 taskbar provides enhanced functionality for starting programs directly from the taskbar button by using Jump Lists. Jump Lists are also used in the Windows 7 Start menu. For more information about Jump Lists, see the Taskbar section of the Windows User Experience Interaction Guidelines.

    • Taskbar Enhancements - The Windows 7 taskbar provides enhanced functionality that enables you to use the taskbar button to communicate status to a user and expose common tasks when the window is minimized or hidden.

    • Common Item Dialogs and Task Dialogs – Windows Vista introduced the task dialog and an updated version of the common file dialog, called the common item dialog, that supports customization and extensibility.

  • DirectX Technologies – Windows 7 supports DirectX 11.0 technologies for using 2D and 3D graphics in your applications.

  • Application Restart and Recovery – Windows Vista lets an application save data and state information before the application exits because of an unhandled exception. You can use the saved data to restart the application in its previous state.

  • Extended Linguistics Services (ELS) – Windows 7 provides Extended Linguistic Services for making application ready for international markets. You can use ELS to detect the script or language of any Unicode text and adjust the user experience accordingly, or convert text from one writing system to another. For more information, see Extended Linguistics Services.

  • Sensor Platform - Windows 7 provides standardized support for physical sensors, such as accelerometers and ambient light sensors. You can collect data reports from sensors attached to the computer and process changes received in the sensor data reports.

  • Aero Glass – Windows Vista introduced Aero Glass, which makes Window borders transparent.

Using native Windows features in a managed application requires that you use COM Interop (Visual Basic). The Windows API Code Pack provides the required COM Interop (Visual Basic) code that let your managed code interoperate with the native Windows APIs. The Window API Code Pack includes a complete source code library, sample applications and API reference documents. After accepting the license, you can build the included solution files to get the assemblies for use in your applications.

The Windows API Code Pack is available for download on Code Gallery.

The Windows API Code Pack can be used with both Windows Presentation Foundation (WPF) and Windows Forms application. The following tables list the Windows API Code Pack samples that demonstrate the use of the code pack in Windows Forms applications.


Solution File




Demonstrates use of Aero Glass.



Demonstrates the Application Restart and Recovery API.



Advanced Direct2D. Demonstrates how to draw most simple geometries.



Advanced Direct2D. Demonstrates use of Geometry and Render Targets.



Direct3D 10. Demonstrates loading and rendering a mesh file.



Direct3D 10. Demonstrates loading a mesh file. (Same as DX 10 Tutorial 9 in the DirectX SDK.)



A collection of D3D 10 tutorials. Similar to tutorials 2 - 7 in the DirectX SDK.



Direct3D 10. Demonstrates using D3D 10 effects to render a waving Windows flag.



Direct3D 11. Similar to tutorial 2 in the DirectX SDK, but for DX 11.



Demonstrates hosting an explorer browser control in a WPF Window or Windows Forms Form.



Advanced ELS. Demonstrates the use of the ELS Transliterator service.



A collection of Sensor API samples including acceleration and ambient light sensors (requires sensor hardware).



Demonstrates the use of common file dialog boxes. Shows how to create open and save file dialog boxes.



Demonstrating the use of taskbar thumbnail previews.



Demonstrates the use of tabbed taskbar thumbnail previews.



Demonstrates various taskbar functions, such as controlling the overlay icon and progress bar, and adding tasks and custom categories.



Demonstrates the use of the taskbar thumbnail toolbar.



Demonstrates the use of task dialogs.

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