How-To Geek

Copy Windows Error Messages to the Clipboard

Instead of re-typing long, painful error messages whenever you are trying to Google for a solution, did you know you can simply use Ctrl+C to copy the text of the message to the clipboard?

If you want to test this out for yourself, just open Windows Explorer and type an incorrect drive letter into the address bar, and you’ll get an error message immediately. 


Just hit Ctrl+C whenever you get an error message prompt, and then you can paste it into notepad (or anywhere you’d like)


Personally I prefer to paste the error messages into a blank notepad window so I can select just a portion of it for pasting into Google. This is also a perfect way to copy your error messages when you are asking for help on our forum.

This tip should work in Windows Vista or XP or 2003.

Lowell Heddings, better known online as the How-To Geek, spends all his free time bringing you fresh geekery on a daily basis. You can follow him on if you'd like.

  • Published 08/26/07

Comments (10)

  1. jumper

    an effin’ useful tip! i’ve always used the web to check out what the windows error messages mean! this saves me the trouble of typing the error message. thanks! :)

  2. Scott

    Will wonders ever cease? First we have the Snipping Tool, and now this. Excellent tip !

  3. Lisaweb

    Geek, you are literally saving years off my life, with these tips of yours! Thanks again.

  4. Zbyszek

    YEP – Good tip – especially when I got MessageBoxes from C# when a bug occurs while developing the code :)

  5. The Geek

    I’m very interested to see if there are any cases where this doesn’t work… for instance if a Java application has an error, does it still work? I haven’t tested every scenario yet.

  6. Kenny

    This is revolutionary! Well maybe not, but it really makes you think “damn, I’ve been taking screenshots of those things for how long???”

  7. LeJean

    I am trying to copy .jpg to a CD or DVD and I receive the following error message, what can I do?

    Windows encountered a problem when trying to copy this file. What do you want to do?

    Thank you.

  8. Melva Johnston

    Microsoft Visual Basic
    Compile error in hidden module: AutoExec
    OK Help

  9. tim

    Iwas looking for help on a code 10, but have great tips & helpful stuff I need to learn. thanks

  10. pkGeeks

    simply great!!!

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