Tag Archives: ctypes

Win32 Python: Getting all window titles

This post shows how you can retrieve all window titles in Microsoft Windows using Python’s ctypes module. Moreover, it also acts as a ctypes tutorial, showing how to create and use callback functions.

The following is the full code. Keep reading if you want to understand how it works. (Note: If you are reading this as a ctypes tutorial and are having trouble following the explanation, you may want to go through my previous tutorial first.)

import ctypes

EnumWindows = ctypes.windll.user32.EnumWindows
EnumWindowsProc = ctypes.WINFUNCTYPE(ctypes.c_bool, ctypes.POINTER(ctypes.c_int), ctypes.POINTER(ctypes.c_int))
GetWindowText = ctypes.windll.user32.GetWindowTextW
GetWindowTextLength = ctypes.windll.user32.GetWindowTextLengthW
IsWindowVisible = ctypes.windll.user32.IsWindowVisible

titles = []
def foreach_window(hwnd, lParam):
	if IsWindowVisible(hwnd):
		length = GetWindowTextLength(hwnd)
		buff = ctypes.create_unicode_buffer(length + 1)
		GetWindowText(hwnd, buff, length + 1)
	return True
EnumWindows(EnumWindowsProc(foreach_window), 0)


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Win32 Python: getting user’s display name using ctypes

This post explains how you can obtain the user’s display name (a.k.a. “real name” or “full name”) in Windows, using Python’s ctypes module. However, it also serves as a mini tutorial/demonstration of ctypes.

First, a bit of background. I researched this while working on a patch for Jokosher. When you create a new project in Jokosher, it will prompt you with a dialog asking for the name of the project and so on. One of the fields in this dialog is the Author field, which by default should be filled with the logged-in user’s real name. While there are several ways to get the user’s login ID (a.k.a. “username”), there is no easy way to get their real name (display name) in Windows.

This is where ctypes and GetUserNameEx come in. ctypes is a Python library that lets you call C functions. GetUserNameEx is the C function in Win32 API that we want to call.

For the impatient, here is the full code. Continue reading if you want to know how it works and maybe learn a bit about ctypes. Otherwise, copy away. Note, however, that it does not have any error checking whatsoever.

import ctypes

def get_display_name():
	GetUserNameEx = ctypes.windll.secur32.GetUserNameExW
	NameDisplay = 3

	size = ctypes.pointer(ctypes.c_ulong(0))
	GetUserNameEx(NameDisplay, None, size)

	nameBuffer = ctypes.create_unicode_buffer(size.contents.value)
	GetUserNameEx(NameDisplay, nameBuffer, size)
	return nameBuffer.value

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