System Backdrops

Learn to use System Backdrops in Windows App SDK with this Tutorial

System Backdrops shows how you can use SystemBackdrops within the Window of an application using the Windows App SDK.

Step 1

Follow Setup and Start on how to get Setup and Install what you need for Visual Studio 2022 and Windows App SDK.

In Windows 11 choose Start and then find or search for Visual Studio 2022 and then select it.
Visual Studio 2022
Once Visual Studio 2022 has started select Create a new project.
Create a new project
Then choose the Blank App, Packages (WinUI in Desktop) and then select Next.
Blank App, Packages (WinUI in Desktop)
After that in Configure your new project type in the Project name as SystemBackdrops, then select a Location and then select Create to start a new Solution.
Configure project

Step 2

Then in Visual Studio within Solution Explorer for the Solution, right click on the Project shown below the Solution and then select Add then New Item…

Add New Item

Step 3

Then in Add New Item from the C# Items list, select Code and then select Code File from the list next to this, then type in the name of Library.cs and then Click on Add.

Add New Code File

Step 4

You will now be in the View for the Code of Library.cs, within this type the following Code:

using Microsoft.UI.Composition;
using Microsoft.UI.Composition.SystemBackdrops;
using Microsoft.UI.Xaml;
using Microsoft.UI.Xaml.Controls;
using System.Runtime.InteropServices;
using Windows.System;
using WinRT;

internal class Library
    private object _queue;
    private ISystemBackdropControllerWithTargets _controller;

    struct DispatcherQueueOptions
        internal int dwSize;
        internal int threadType;
        internal int apartmentType;

    private static extern int CreateDispatcherQueueController(
        [In] DispatcherQueueOptions options, 
        [In, Out, MarshalAs(UnmanagedType.IUnknown)] 
        ref object dispatcherQueueController);

    private void EnsureDispatcherQueueController()
        if (DispatcherQueue.GetForCurrentThread() != null)
        if (_queue == null)
            DispatcherQueueOptions options;
            options.dwSize = Marshal.SizeOf(typeof(DispatcherQueueOptions));
            options.threadType = 2;    // DQTYPE_THREAD_CURRENT
            options.apartmentType = 2; // DQTAT_COM_STA
            _ = CreateDispatcherQueueController(options, ref _queue);

    // Set Backdrop

The Class that has been defined so far in Library.cs has a Member for an object and an Interface of ISystemBackdropControllerWithTargets then there is some code to make the System Backdrops work correctly. There is a struct that will be used with the Method which will use a DllImport for some Unmanaged Code that is part of the API for Windows to use CreateDispatcherQueueController. This is called from the Method which will configure a DispatcherQueue which will ensure the System Backdrops work as needed of EnsureDispatcherQueueController.

Step 5

While still in the Class for Library.cs and after the Comment of // Set Backdrop type in the following Method:

public void SetBackdrop(Window window, ComboBox options)

    if (_controller != null)
    string value = (options.SelectedItem as ComboBoxItem).Content as string;
    switch (value)
        case "Acrylic":
            if (DesktopAcrylicController.IsSupported())
                _controller = new DesktopAcrylicController();
                    new SystemBackdropConfiguration());
        case "Mica":
            if (MicaController.IsSupported())
                _controller = new MicaController();
                    new SystemBackdropConfiguration());
            _controller = null;

This Method will check if ISystemBackdropControllerWithTargets has been set, or is not null then it will call the Method for EnsureDispatcherQueueController then it will get the value from the ComboBox that was passed in, then within a switch Statement, there is an option for Acrylic and Mica which is one of the System Backdrops that can be supported, to check this is supported the Method of IsSupported() of the Class of DesktopAcrylicController or MicaController is called, then the Method of AddSystemBackdropTarget and SetSystemBackdropConfiguration is used to apply the System Backdrop with ISystemBackdropControllerWithTargets to the Window that was passed in and the default option of the switch will set the ISystemBackdropControllerWithTargets to null.

Step 6

Within Solution Explorer for the Solution double-click on MainWindow.xaml to see the XAML for the Main Window.
Solution Explorer MainWindow.xaml

Step 7

In the XAML for MainWindow.xaml there will be some XAML for a StackPanel, this should be Removed:

<StackPanel Orientation="Horizontal" 
HorizontalAlignment="Center" VerticalAlignment="Center">
    <Button x:Name="myButton" Click="myButton_Click">Click Me</Button>

Step 8

While still in the XAML for MainWindow.xaml above </Window>, type in the following XAML:

        <RowDefinition Height="Auto"/>
        <RowDefinition Height="*"/>
    <ComboBox Grid.Row="0" Name="Options" Margin="25" HorizontalAlignment="Stretch" 
        <ComboBoxItem IsSelected="True">None</ComboBoxItem>
    <Viewbox Grid.Row="1">
        <StackPanel Spacing="5" Orientation="Horizontal" 
            <Rectangle Width="50" Height="50" Fill="Black"/>
            <Rectangle Width="50" Height="50" Fill="Gray"/>
            <Rectangle Width="50" Height="50" Fill="Red"/>
            <Rectangle Width="50" Height="50" Fill="Orange"/>
            <Rectangle Width="50" Height="50" Fill="Yellow"/>
            <Rectangle Width="50" Height="50" Fill="Green"/>
            <Rectangle Width="50" Height="50" Fill="Cyan"/>
            <Rectangle Width="50" Height="50" Fill="Blue"/>
            <Rectangle Width="50" Height="50" Fill="Magenta"/>
            <Rectangle Width="50" Height="50" Fill="Purple"/>

This XAML features a Grid with two Rows, the first Row is for a ComboBox which contains the name of the System Backdrops and None that will be used to apply the selected System Backdrop. The second Row is a ViewBox which is used to Scale elements and in this is a StackPanel that contains Rectangle elements.

Step 9

Within Solution Explorer for the Solution select the arrow next to MainWindow.xaml then double-click on MainWindow.xaml.cs to see the Code for the Main Window.
Solution Explorer MainWindow.xaml.cs

Step 10

In the Code for MainWindow.xaml.cs there be a Method of myButton_Click(...) this should be Removed by removing the following:

private void myButton_Click(object sender, RoutedEventArgs e)
    myButton.Content = "Clicked";

Step 11

Once myButton_Click(...) has been removed, type the following Code below the end of the Constructor of public MainWindow() { ... }:

private readonly Library _library = new();

private void Options_SelectionChanged(object sender, SelectionChangedEventArgs e)
    _library.SetBackdrop(this, Options);

The Method of Options_SelectionChanged will call the Method within Library.cs of SetBackdrop from an Instance of Library called _library created with new() and will also pass in the current Window with the Keyword of this which will pass in the current Instance of the Window.

Step 12

That completes the Windows App SDK application. In Visual Studio 2022 from the Toolbar select SystemBackdrops (Package) to Start the application.
SystemBackdrops (Package)

Step 13

Once running you should a Combobox with System Backdrop options and some Rectangle elements.

System Backdrops Running

Step 14

You can select one of the options of Acrylic or Mica to see the System Backdrop applied to the Window or you can select None to clear the System Backdrop.

System Backdrops Output

Step 15

To Exit the Windows App SDK application, select the Close button from the top right of the application as that concludes this Tutorial for Windows App SDK from!
Close application