This documentation is archived and is not being maintained.

NativeWindow.Handle Property

Gets the handle for this window.

Namespace:  System.Windows.Forms
Assembly:  System.Windows.Forms (in System.Windows.Forms.dll)

public IntPtr Handle { get; }

Property Value

Type: System.IntPtr
If successful, an IntPtr representing the handle to the associated native Win32 window; otherwise, 0 if no handle is associated with the window.



Use this method when calling Windows API methods that require a handle for a window or control.

The following code example demonstrates creating a window with a specific operating system window class name. The example creates a class that inherits from NativeWindow to accomplish this. The example also demonstrates overriding the OnHandleChange method to be notified when the Handle changes.

The MyNativeWindow class creates a new window with the ClassName set to BUTTON. This creates a Win32 button window. The location and size of the button is set, along with specifying additional window styles. The class demonstrates how to use the CreateHandle method and override the WndProc method to intercept window messages that are received. Although the example looks for the WM_ACTIVATEAPP message, this could be replaced in a real program with window messages specific to the type created.


Some control types send their window messages to the window parent instead of the window. See the Windows Platform SDK for more information.

// MyNativeWindow class to create a window given a class name.
[System.Security.Permissions.PermissionSet(System.Security.Permissions.SecurityAction.Demand, Name = "FullTrust")]
internal class MyNativeWindow : NativeWindow

    // Constant values were found in the "windows.h" header file.
    private const int WS_CHILD = 0x40000000,
                      WS_VISIBLE = 0x10000000,
                      WM_ACTIVATEAPP = 0x001C;

    private int windowHandle;

    public MyNativeWindow(Form parent)

        CreateParams cp = new CreateParams();

        // Fill in the CreateParams details.
        cp.Caption = "Click here";
        cp.ClassName = "Button";

        // Set the position on the form
        cp.X = 100;
        cp.Y = 100;
        cp.Height = 100;
        cp.Width = 100;

        // Specify the form as the parent.
        cp.Parent = parent.Handle;

        // Create as a child of the specified parent
        cp.Style = WS_CHILD | WS_VISIBLE;

        // Create the actual window

    // Listen to when the handle changes to keep the variable in sync
    [System.Security.Permissions.PermissionSet(System.Security.Permissions.SecurityAction.Demand, Name = "FullTrust")]
    protected override void OnHandleChange()
        windowHandle = (int)this.Handle;

    [System.Security.Permissions.PermissionSet(System.Security.Permissions.SecurityAction.Demand, Name = "FullTrust")]
    protected override void WndProc(ref Message m)
        // Listen for messages that are sent to the button window. Some messages are sent
        // to the parent window instead of the button's window.

        switch (m.Msg)
            case WM_ACTIVATEAPP:
                // Do something here in response to messages
        base.WndProc(ref m);

.NET Framework

Supported in: 4, 3.5, 3.0, 2.0, 1.1, 1.0

.NET Framework Client Profile

Supported in: 4, 3.5 SP1

Windows 7, Windows Vista SP1 or later, Windows XP SP3, Windows XP SP2 x64 Edition, Windows Server 2008 (Server Core not supported), Windows Server 2008 R2 (Server Core supported with SP1 or later), Windows Server 2003 SP2

The .NET Framework does not support all versions of every platform. For a list of the supported versions, see .NET Framework System Requirements.