Windows Forms GUI hangs when calling OpenFileDialog.ShowDialog()

my project a three tier architecture project talking to a WCF service in the backend. When the backend is able to fetch data from the service, it notifies the business layer using publish-subscribe, which in return notifies the GUI layer.

I have added an OpenFileDialog to my UI design using Visual Studios designer. A button event handler calls the ShowDialog message. However, once I click the button, the whole UI hangs.

Having googled around a bit, I found out that using delegates is the preferred way to handle tasks like this. However, with nor without delegate the problem persists.

Currently my code looks like this:

private void bOpen_Click(object sender, EventArgs e) { Func<Image> del = delegate { OpenFileDialog d = new OpenFileDialog(); if (d.ShowDialog() == DialogResult.OK) { return Image.FromFile(d.FileName); } return null; }; Invoke(del); }

I'm coming from the Java world, so I'm not really familiar with the intricacies of C# UI programming.

Anything I'm missing here?

-------------Problems Reply------------

I seem to have solved the problem adding the [STAThread] Attribute to the main method. I was told to do so once I ran the program in a debugger - which I hadn't done before because I ran the service from Visual Studio and the client regularly from Windows.

public static void Main(string[] args)
GUI gui = new GUI();

Can anybody explain what exactly is going on though

This is an environmental problem, when you use OpenFileDialog a lot of shell extensions get loaded into your process. A misbehaving one can easily screw up your program. There are a lot of bad ones out there.

Debugging this is difficult, you need an unmanaged debugger since these shell extensions are unmanaged code. You might be able to tell something from the call stack when you break in after the deadlock. Windows debugging symbols required, enable the Microsoft symbol server. But the most effective approach is to use SysInternals' AutoRuns utility. Start by disabling all of the shell extensions that were not produced by Microsoft. Then start re-enabling the ones you cannot live without one by one.

I believe the "delegate" prefered way actually refers to using a separate thread. I'm gonna give you an example using BackgroundWorker.

It would look like this:

public partial class Form1 : Form
public Form1()
m_Worker.DoWork += new DoWorkEventHandler(m_Worker_DoWork);
m_Worker.ProgressChanged += new ProgressChangedEventHandler(m_Worker_ProgressChanged);
m_Worker.RunWorkerCompleted += new RunWorkerCompletedEventHandler(m_Worker_RunWorkerCompleted);

void m_Worker_ProgressChanged(object sender, ProgressChangedEventArgs e)
//Usually, used to update a progress bar

void m_Worker_RunWorkerCompleted(object sender, RunWorkerCompletedEventArgs e)
//Usually, used to add some code to notify the user that the job is done.

void m_Worker_DoWork(object sender, DoWorkEventArgs e)
//e.Argument.ToString() contains the path to the file
//Do what you want with the file returned.

private void bOpen_Click(object sender, EventArgs e)
OpenFileDialog d = new OpenFileDialog();
if (d.ShowDialog() == DialogResult.OK)

BackgroundWorker m_Worker = new BackgroundWorker();

Now, as for the reason your UI "hangs", it's because by default, your operation runs on the UI thread, so if you run something heavy the UI won't respond.

Category:c# Views:8 Time:2011-07-16

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