This function retrieves a handle to a display device context (DC) for the client area of a specified window or for the entire screen. You can use the returned handle in subsequent graphics display interface (GDI) functions to draw in the device context.

GetDCEx is an extension to the GetDC function, which gives an application more control over how and whether or not clipping occurs in the client area.

HWND hWnd, 
HRGN hrgnClip, 
DWORD flags


  • hWnd
    Handle to the window whose device context is to be retrieved. If this value is NULL, GetDCEx retrieves the device context for the entire screen.
  • hrgnClip
    Specifies a clipping region that may be combined with the visible region of the device context.
  • flags
    Specifies how the device context is created. This parameter can be a combination of the following values.
    Value Description
    DCX_WINDOW Returns a device context corresponding to the window rectangle rather than the client rectangle.
    DCX_CACHE Returns a device context from the cache, rather than the OWNDC or CLASSDC window. Essentially overrides CS_OWNDC and CS_CLASSDC.
    DCX_PARENTCLIP Uses the visible region of the parent window. The parent's WS_CLIPCHILDREN and CS_PARENTDC style bits are ignored. The device context origin is set to the upper-left corner of the window identified by hWnd.
    DCX_CLIPSIBLINGS Excludes the visible regions of all sibling windows above the window identified by hWnd.
    DCX_CLIPCHILDREN Excludes the visible regions of all child windows below the window identified by hWnd.
    DCX_NORESETATTRS Does not reset the attributes of this device context to the default attributes when this device context is released.
    DCX_LOCKWINDOWUPDATE Allows drawing even if there is a LockWindowUpdate call in effect that would otherwise exclude this window. Used for drawing during tracking.
    DCX_EXCLUDERGN The clipping region identified by hrgnClip is excluded from the visible region of the returned device context.
    DCX_INTERSECTRGN The clipping region identified by hrgnClip is intersected with the visible region of the returned device context.
    DCX_VALIDATE When specified with DCX_INTERSECTUPDATE, causes the device context to be completely validated. Using this function with both DCX_INTERSECTUPDATE and DCX_VALIDATE is identical to using the BeginPaint function.

Return Values

The handle of the device context for the specified window indicates success. NULL indicates failure. An invalid value for the hWnd parameter causes the function to fail.

To get extended error information, call GetLastError.



Unlike a DC returned by GetDC, a DC returned by this function is not kept in sync with its associated window. If the window moves or is resized, unexpected drawing results may occur. The chance of error is reduced if an application gets a DC, draws, and then releases that DC.

Unless the display device context belongs to a window class, the ReleaseDC function must be called to release the device context after painting. Because only five common device contexts are available at any given time, failure to release a device context can prevent other applications from accessing a device context.

The function returns a device context belonging to the window's class if CS_CLASSDC, CS_OWNDC or CS_PARENTDC was specified as a style in the WNDCLASS structure when the class was registered.


Runs on Versions Defined in Include Link to
Windows CE OS 2.10 and later Winuser.h   Coredll.lib, Winmgr.lib

Note   This API is part of the complete Windows CE OS package as provided by Microsoft. The functionality of a particular platform is determined by the original equipment manufacturer (OEM) and some devices may not support this API.

See Also

BeginPaint, GetDC, GetLastError, ReleaseDC, WNDCLASS

 Last updated on Tuesday, July 13, 2004

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