How to programmatically start the default Internet browser by using Visual C++

For a Microsoft Visual C# .NET version of this article, see
305703 .
For a Microsoft Visual Basic .NET version of this article, see
305705 .

This article refers to the following Microsoft .NET Framework Class Library namespaces:
  • System.Diagnostics.Process
  • System.Windows.Forms



This article demonstrates how to start the default Internet browser by using managed extensions for Visual C++.


The following list outlines the recommended hardware, software, network infrastructure, and service packs that are required:
  • Microsoft Visual Studio .NET or Microsoft Visual Studio 2005

Specify the URL, FTP, or File to Open

You can specify a URL, a file, or an FTP address. All three of these assignments are valid:
   System::String * target= "";
System::String * target = "";
System::String * target = "C:\\Program Files\\Microsoft Visual Studio\\INSTALL.HTM";

Use the Process Class Start Method to Start the Browser

The Process class contains a static Start method. Because this is a static method, you can call Start without having an instance of a Process class.

Provide Exception Handling

Because you take advantage of the default UseShellExecute property when you call the Start method, you do not have to explicitly query the registry to determine which browser is the default. However, if you use this approach on a computer that does not have a browser installed, an exception occurs. This exception must be caught so that the appropriate action can be taken. This example explicitly traps for an error that is generated when the necessary registry key is not found and indicates that no browser is installed. In addition, a general exception handler is provided for other errors that may occur. The try...catch block is demonstrated in the complete code sample.

Complete Code Sample

#using <mscorlib.dll>
#using <system.dll>
#using <System.Windows.Forms.dll>
int main(){
//Use no more than one assignment when you test this code.
//System::String * target= "";
//System::String * target = "";
System::String * target = "C:\\Program Files\\Microsoft Visual Studio\\INSTALL.HTM";
catch (System::ComponentModel::Win32Exception * noBrowser)
if (noBrowser->ErrorCode==-2147467259)
catch (System::Exception * other)
return 0;


This code is highly dependent on the application-file type associations in the HKEY_CLASSES_ROOT hive of the registry. This can lead to unexpected results and exceptions if the registry is damaged. In addition, file types and extensions may be associated with applications other than the browser. For example, HTM or HTML files may be associated with Web development software instead of the browser.


For more information about the Process class, see the following .NET Framework Class Library documentation: For more general information about Visual C++ .NET, visit the following Microsoft newsgroup and Microsoft Web site:

ID do Artigo: 307382 - Última Revisão: 9 de nov de 2012 - Revisão: 1