...On some versions of Windows, all you have to do is put the focus on an error message box and press Control-C. That copies the text to the clipboard. For versions of Windows where that doesn't work, it's worth trying CopyMessageBox, freeware by thyanté Software...
I've also been frustrated at times trying to get the exact info from error messages without having to manually type it out (and it seems like Ctrl+C only works on maybe 20-30% of them), so my eyes lit up when I saw this link.CopyMessageBox
looks like a slick little utility with a nice, simple design. Unfortunately, it didn't capture the text on the first error message I tried it with. It did capture a nice screenshot of the message, but only has the option to save as a JPG file (I'd like to save as PNG for posting in forums, etc. ... but can easily convert JPG to PNG any number of ways, if necessary). Then it skewed the image 45 degrees horizontally on the second error message snapshot I tried (and didn't capture the text), so it's got some limitations.
The best program I've found so far (and have used for years) to capture the text from error messages is NirSoft's SysExporter
. It often works when Ctrl+C doesn't, but I would estimate it still only captures the text from about 60-80% of error messages. (I don't have enough programming knowledge to figure out exactly what is different about those it doesn't capture --- it seems to simply not detect them.) Also, it isn't nearly as convenient as a clipping program would be
. But if Ctrl+C doesn't work and I REALLY need to capture the text, it's the first thing I try.
As an aside, SysExporter can actually be used for capturing the text of nearly any type of window currently visible on your screen (e.g., ComboBox, Label, ListBox, ListView, StatusBar, TextBox, TreeView, etc.). So you can easily capture the ListView from nearly any program that creates lists of any kind but doesn't provide an easy way to save those lists. From Regedit, for example, you can easily copy the ListView of your RunMRU commands or your Regedit Favorites. Or from Explorer, you can easily capture a tabulated
list of all the files in a folder, with whatever columns you have set up to display in Explorer (Name, Size, Date Modified, Date Created, etc.), ready to drop into Excel for further manipulation.
Should you ever have a need for it (I haven't yet
), you also could capture the current Regedit TreeView or Explorer folder TreeView (if you have Explorer set up to display the folder tree).
But like I said, it's not as convenient as a clipping program, and it doesn't capture text from some error messages. So I look forward to trying some of the other recommendations here. If anyone already knows which (if any) are particularly good with capturing text from error pop up messages, I'd appreciate a heads up!