Show/Hide the console window of a C# console application

2010-08-26 c# console console-application

I googled around for information on how to hide one’s own console window. Amazingly, the only solutions I could find were hacky solutions that involved FindWindow() to find the console window by its title. I dug a bit deeper into the Windows API and found that there is a much better and easier way, so I wanted to post it here for others to find.

How do you hide (and show) the console window associated with my own C# console application?

Answers

Here’s how:

using System.Runtime.InteropServices;

[DllImport("kernel32.dll")]
static extern IntPtr GetConsoleWindow();

[DllImport("user32.dll")]
static extern bool ShowWindow(IntPtr hWnd, int nCmdShow);

const int SW_HIDE = 0;
const int SW_SHOW = 5;

var handle = GetConsoleWindow();

// Hide
ShowWindow(handle, SW_HIDE);

// Show
ShowWindow(handle, SW_SHOW);

Just go to the application's Properties and change the Output type from Console Application to Windows Application.

Why do you need a console application if you want to hide console itself? =)

I recommend setting Project Output type to Windows Application instead of Console application. It will not show you console window, but execute all actions, like Console application do.

See my post here:

Show Console in Windows Application

You can make a Windows application (with or without the window) and show the console as desired. Using this method the console window never appears unless you explicitly show it. I use it for dual-mode applications that I want to run in either console or gui mode depending on how they are opened.

If you don't want to depends on window title use this :

    [DllImport("user32.dll")]
    static extern bool ShowWindow(IntPtr hWnd, int nCmdShow);

...

    IntPtr h = Process.GetCurrentProcess().MainWindowHandle;
    ShowWindow(h, 0);
    Application.EnableVisualStyles();
    Application.SetCompatibleTextRenderingDefault(false);
    Application.Run(new FormPrincipale());

If you don't have a problem integrating a small batch application, there is this program called Cmdow.exe that will allow you to hide console windows based on console title.

Console.Title = "MyConsole";
System.Diagnostics.Process HideConsole = new System.Diagnostics.Process();
HideConsole.StartInfo.UseShellExecute = false;
HideConsole.StartInfo.Arguments = "MyConsole /hid";
HideConsole.StartInfo.FileName = "cmdow.exe";
HideConsole.Start();

Add the exe to the solution, set the build action to "Content", set Copy to Output Directory to what suits you, and cmdow will hide the console window when it is ran.

To make the console visible again, you just change the Arguments

HideConsole.StartInfo.Arguments = "MyConsole /Vis";

You could do the reversed and set the Application output type to: Windows Application. Then add this code to the beginning of the application.

[DllImport("kernel32.dll", EntryPoint = "GetStdHandle", SetLastError = true, CharSet = CharSet.Auto, CallingConvention = CallingConvention.StdCall)]
public static extern IntPtr GetStdHandle(int nStdHandle);

[DllImport("kernel32.dll", EntryPoint = "AllocConsole", SetLastError = true, CharSet = CharSet.Auto, CallingConvention = CallingConvention.StdCall)]
public static extern int AllocConsole();

private const int STD_OUTPUT_HANDLE = -11;
private const int MY_CODE_PAGE = 437;
private static bool showConsole = true; //Or false if you don't want to see the console

static void Main(string[] args)
{
    if (showConsole)
    {
        AllocConsole();
        IntPtr stdHandle = GetStdHandle(STD_OUTPUT_HANDLE);
        Microsoft.Win32.SafeHandles.SafeFileHandle safeFileHandle = new Microsoft.Win32.SafeHandles.SafeFileHandle(stdHandle, true);
        FileStream fileStream = new FileStream(safeFileHandle, FileAccess.Write);
        System.Text.Encoding encoding = System.Text.Encoding.GetEncoding(MY_CODE_PAGE);
        StreamWriter standardOutput = new StreamWriter(fileStream, encoding);
        standardOutput.AutoFlush = true;
        Console.SetOut(standardOutput);
    }

    //Your application code
}

This code will show the Console if showConsole is true

"Just to hide" you can:

Change the output type from Console Application to Windows Application,

And Instead of Console.Readline/key you can use new ManualResetEvent(false).WaitOne() at the end to keep the app running.

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