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<Detecting User Inactivity in C# ⁄ >




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There are several reasons why you may wish to detect when the user is idle. Some background processes are so intensive that they make all other user interaction unacceptably poor. Some software changes state when the user is inactive. For example, Windows Live Messenger can be set to set the user's status as "Away" automatically and indicate this to other systems. In these situations, and many others, the behaviour is dependant upon the length of time since the user pressed a key or moved their mouse.

In order to determine the period of inactivity, two times are required. The first is the system's up time and the second is the up time when the last user input occurred. If the second value is subtracted from the first, the duration of inactivity is known. Obtaining the first value is described in the article, "Getting the System Up Time". The time of the last user input can be obtained using a call to the Windows API using Platform Invocation Services (P/Invoke).



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