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Ctrl+C In A Message Box Does What!?

OK, so now searching for this reveals it as a widely-known and somewhat ancient tip, but I didn’t know until this week. I can’t remember where I saw it.

I can’t tell you how many hours this might have saved me over the years, because I DIDN’T KNOW ABOUT IT YEARS AGO. Sigh.

Ever faced with a dialog box that you desperately want to keep the text from?

Have you been resorting to OneNote, PrintScreen (ok, PrtScn if you’re that way inclined) or screen captures for message boxes, like this?

Well, as it turns out, pressing Ctrl-C while the little messagebox has focus results in this being copied to the clipboard:



The network path was not found.


Man, if only I’d known. I will make it my personal mission to evangelize this until there’s nobody left that feels like they have to send a screenshot of a dialog box by email any more*.

Note that it doesn’t work for all message boxes, and I haven’t really put a ton of time into working out which ones it does or doesn’t. I guess just the non-custom Win32 sort – the message from Word telling me I need at least a “to:” entry in an email isn’t capturable, for instance. But anyway, if it saves eight clicks just once, it’s a good tip.

Another set everyone knows already:

Windows Key + R = Run dialog, straight away (though I find myself using the MSN Deskbar more as a pseudo-batch-file-CLI-type-thing these days). Especially useful if you’ve converted to the New-Fangled Start Menu and have more than one item beginning with R.

Windows Key + L = Lock Workstation.