Sign up ×
Super User is a question and answer site for computer enthusiasts and power users. It's 100% free, no registration required.

In Windows sometimes I get an error dialog with long text. Is there a tool which can copy the displayed text?

share|improve this question

6 Answers 6

Try just hitting Ctrl+C while the dialog has focus. If it is a normal modal Windows message box, it will put the text in the dialog in the clipboard for you.

The copied text should look something like this:

Window Title
The dialog box main text
share|improve this answer
"If" is the important word here! Windows 7 is better than Vista is better than XP for this it seems. – outsideblasts Apr 12 '10 at 21:13

A bit of an old question, but here is a different solution:

For windows that don't natively support Ctrl+C, there are several utilities which will poke around all current processes and let you pull the text from standard window objects (listboxes, comboboxes, etc.)

I used one years ago that worked well, but can't remember the name of it. Here's another I just found by doing a quick search:

share|improve this answer

If you have OneNote, you can take a screen clip, then right-click the pasted image (in OneNote) and select "Copy Text from Picture".

I usually have success with it. Sometimes I need to do a little editing though.

share|improve this answer

For dialogs and controls that don’t have a copy ability built-in, I prefer to use WinSpy++ to capture the raw text. (You simply use the picker-tool to select the window/control in question and then copy the text from the caption field.)

share|improve this answer

This page lists 7 programs for that (in case Ctrl+C doesn't work). ShoWin 2.0 is by McAfee and works fine though i wish its preview was a little bigger.

share|improve this answer

This came up in my search for “copy windows title” and though OP is specifically requesting the contents of a dialog; if you wanted to copy more “locked” text from a window there is ‘Microsoft Spy ++’. It’s what most of those are emulating as it’s been around A LONG time, before it had the Microsoft tag. It’s also more current than most of those suggest and will have longer support. It’s always been installed with Visual Studio (non-express) since at least 6.0; so if you have VS, search ‘spy’. It allows you to look at a lot of things like controls and text from windows. You can download the current and previous version here: Basic start, click the goggles and then drag the target to the window you want info from, click ok and then you can go through things. For more information search on how to use.

Tip: Window Caption text box isn’t so friendly, either from start or pressing home to get to start, hold shift and hit end then Ctrl+C to copy entire title. (Ctrl+A nor triple click work)

share|improve this answer

Your Answer


By posting your answer, you agree to the privacy policy and terms of service.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.