2.4 Learning More About Windows Controls with Control Spy

The Windows.Forms namespace does an adequate job of abstracting (hiding) most of the details for controls in the Windows API, but there are plenty of times when you’ll really need to understand how controls work under the covers. For example, you may need this information to add functionality to your application or to troubleshoot a bug or some strange behavior. With Control Spy 2.0, you can examine Windows controls and observe their behavior while you apply different styles, send them messages, and much more.

Control Spy at a Glance


Control Spy

Version covered


Home page


Power Tools page



Makes it easy to dig into the native Windows controls, gain a better understanding of how they work by watching messages and notifications, and tweak styles

License type

Microsoft EULA

Online resources


Getting Started

Download the .msi file (follow the link under “Where to Get Control Spy” on the tool’s home page) and install it. After the installation completes, two executables, a readme, and a help document will be available in the C:\Program Files\Microsoft\ControlSpy directory. The executable titled ControlSpyV5.exe is built for Comctl32.dll version 5.x, and the executable titled ControlSpyV6.exe is built for version 6.0 and later ...

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