Using Process Explorer to Examine Dialog Boxes

by Chris Sanders [Published on 5 July 2011 / Last Updated on 30 June 2010]

When troubleshooting program errors dialog boxes can often be unclear or confusing. This tip will show you a quick method to getting more out of those dialog boxes than meets the eye.

When troubleshooting program errors your success is often highly dependent upon how much time the application developer spent coding the warning and notification dialog boxes the system presents. Unfortunately it’s often the case that these dialog boxes are unclear or downright confusing. Luckily, Microsoft

Sysinternals provides a tool called Process Explorer which helps ease the pain of confusing dialog boxes.

Once downloaded and installed you can use Process Explorer by dragging the crosshair icon off its menu and on to the unclear dialog box message. This will highlight the process that spawned the message and also allow you to view the different process threads associated with it. Using Process Explorer you can gain loads of additional context to the issues you are troubleshooting.

Process Explorer is a free download from Microsoft Sysinternals and is available at

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The Author — Chris Sanders

Chris Sanders is a network security analyst for EWA Government Systems Inc. Chris is the author of the book Practical Packet Analysis as well as several technical articles. His personal website at contains a great deal of information, articles, and guides related to network administration, network security, packet analysis, and general information technology.

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