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Overlay Message Box

Shows a message on a dimmed desktop that the user is forced to acknowledge. All other running programs are "dimmed" and cliking on them just makes the displayed message flush.

This ensures the attention of the user and makes it a great app for any script that needs to inform about something. All options (Title, Text, Icons etc.) can be set using command line parameters.

OverlayMessageBoxCmd.exe -Caption "Title of message" --symbol Information -Text "Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipisicing elit, sed do eiusmod tempor incididunt ut labore et dolore magna"

Example image


Download the newest version from Releases. It requires .NET Framework 4.5 or higher to be installed.

OverlayMessageBox comes with two different executable:

  • OverlayMessageBoxCmd.exe is intent for use in batch files, scripts etc. that are already displaying a command prompt window.

  • OverlayMessageBoxUI.exe is intent if you want to call it from a Windows application or any other executable and you want to avoid showing a command prompt window.

Except the different behavior of creating a command prompt window, both versions behave the same.

Please note that you will also need to copy OverlayMessageBox.dll, both of them do not work if this file is missing.


The most basic example is that you only display a message with this command:

OverlayMessageBoxCmd.exe -Text "My text"

Example 1 image

For more control, you can specify the title, the caption and a different symbol:

OverlayMessageBoxCmd.exe -Caption "Title" -Text "My text" -Symbol Warning

Example 2 image

You can also use a "Task Dialog" style message box which supports a headline before the text. Just specify the parameter "Headline" to use it:

OverlayMessageBoxCmd.exe -Caption "Title" -Headline "The headline" -Text "My text" -Symbol Warning

Example 3 image

Note: When using -Headline together with -Symbol Question, no icon will appear because Task Dialog does not support this symbol.

If you wish to split your text among multiple lines, you can use \n to insert line breaks.

OverlayMessageBoxCmd.exe -Caption "Title" -Text "My text\nLine 2\nLine 3\n\nLine 5" -Symbol Warning

Example 5 image

Working with buttons

You can also define which buttons are displayed and determine which button was selected by checking the return code.

OverlayMessageBoxCmd.exe -Caption "Title" -Headline "The headline" -Text "My text" -Symbol Warning -Buttonset YesNo 

IF "%RETCODE%"=="104" goto YES
IF "%RETCODE%"=="105" goto NO

Example 4 image

Each button has a different return code. To see the full list, use OverlayMessageBoxCmd.exe -?

The download file (see Releases) contains a folder Examples that includes use batch files that use this method.

Using it in your own program

In case you want to use it in your own .NET application, you can do so easily. Add a reference to OverlayMessageBox.dll and add it with USING:

 using OverlayMessageBox;  

Then code right away

    OverlayMessageBoxSettings settings = new OverlayMessageBoxSettings();
    settings.Caption = "Title goes here";
    settings.Headline = "My Headline";
    settings.Text = "Sample text";
    settings.Symbol = OverlayMessageBoxSymbol.Warning;
    settings.ButtonSet = OverlayMessageBoxButtonSet.RetryCancel;

    if (OverlayMessageBox.OverlayMessageBox.Show(settings) == OverlayMessageBoxButton.Cancel)
       MessageBox.Show("Cancel selected!");

If you specify the Headline parameter (which will trigger a TaskDialog instead of a MessageBox), you need to add a reference to the new ComCtrl32.dll v6.0 with a manifest.

For details, please see:

Copyright and License

Copyright © 2012-2016 Michael Hex (@texhex).

Licensed under the Apache License, Version 2.0. For details, please see LICENSE.txt.


Shows a message on a dimmed desktop that the user is forced to acknowledge







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