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Copying the Contents of Windows Dialogs

By January 23, 2010 November 18th, 2012 Tips & Tricks

As a developer, I very often see error messages – some of those originate from the products I develop, and I have to report them as bugs. Whenever I get an error message in a dialog, I typically take a screenshot, and add that to the bug base issue. That’s fine, but it means people can’t search for that error message in the bug base – in order to enable that, I’d usually just manually type out the error message, rather than take a screenshot. That was before. Today, I’d just press CTRL+C to copy the error dialog contents.

That’s right, whenever you see a dialog in Windows, like this:

A typical Windows error message dialog.

You can press CTRL+C to copy, and then open up Notepad, and press CTRL+V to paste:

The dialog title, contents, and even the button text are saved to the clipboard.

I had no idea this was possible until I read¬†a Lifehacker article explaining it. ¬†Since I’ve started using it, I’ve found it very useful in my every day work. Maybe you will too!

Just a note, though – it doesn’t seem to work everywhere. For example, JavaScript alert dialogs can’t be copied in Firefox, but they can in Internet Explorer.