Enumerating monitors in Rust using Win32 API

Published on Monday, June 8, 2020

I had to enumerate all monitors yesterday using the EnumDisplayMonitors Win32 function, and I thought I would write a couple of lines about what I did since I couldn't find any useful information about how to do this.

Import the winapi crate

First, we need to import the winapi crate. We could of course define all Win32 FFI calls ourselves, but this saves us a lot of keystrokes and make our lives easier.

winapi = { version = "0.3.6", features = ["winuser"] }

Enumerating the monitors

With the winapi crate in place, we can start writing the code. I won't go into details about it, but it should show a couple of things.

  1. How to use unsafe code
  2. How to define a callback from an FFI function
  3. How to convert WCHAR (a u16 type alias) to OsString
  4. How to convert from OsString to &str
  5. How to cast to *mut _ (a type placeholder) when we want Rust to figure out the type.
use std::ffi::OsString;
use std::io::Error;
use std::mem;
use std::ptr;
use std::os::windows::ffi::OsStringExt;

use winapi::shared::minwindef::{LPARAM, TRUE, BOOL};
use winapi::shared::windef::{HMONITOR, HDC, LPRECT, RECT};
use winapi::um::winuser::{EnumDisplayMonitors, GetMonitorInfoW, MONITORINFOEXW};

fn main() {
    for monitor in enumerate_monitors() {
        // Convert the WCHAR[] to a unicode OsString
        let name = match &monitor.szDevice[..].iter().position(|c| *c == 0) {
            Some(len) => OsString::from_wide(&monitor.szDevice[0..*len]),
            None => OsString::from_wide(&monitor.szDevice[0..monitor.szDevice.len()]),

        // Print some information to the console
        println!("Display name = {}", name.to_str().unwrap());
        println!("    Left: {}", monitor.rcWork.left);
        println!("   Right: {}", monitor.rcWork.right);
        println!("     Top: {}", monitor.rcWork.top);
        println!("  Bottom: {}", monitor.rcWork.bottom);

// The method that numerates all monitors

fn enumerate_monitors() -> Vec<MONITORINFOEXW> {
    // Define the vector where we will store the result
    let mut monitors = Vec::<MONITORINFOEXW>::new();
    let userdata = &mut monitors as *mut _;

    let result = unsafe {
            userdata as LPARAM,

    if result != TRUE {
        // Get the last error for the current thread.
        // This is analogous to calling the Win32 API GetLastError.
        panic!("Could not enumerate monitors: {}", Error::last_os_error());


// The callback from EnumDisplayMonitors

unsafe extern "system" fn enumerate_monitors_callback(
    monitor: HMONITOR,
    _: HDC,
    _: LPRECT,
    userdata: LPARAM,
) -> BOOL {
    // Get the userdata where we will store the result
    let monitors: &mut Vec<MONITORINFOEXW> = mem::transmute(userdata);

    // Initialize the MONITORINFOEXW structure and get a pointer to it
    let mut monitor_info: MONITORINFOEXW = mem::zeroed();
    monitor_info.cbSize = mem::size_of::<MONITORINFOEXW>() as u32;
    let monitor_info_ptr = <*mut _>::cast(&mut monitor_info);

    // Call the GetMonitorInfoW win32 API
    let result = GetMonitorInfoW(monitor, monitor_info_ptr);
    if result == TRUE {
        // Push the information we received to userdata