How to Determine the Program or Process That Owns an Error Message Window

Error message dialog boxes usually have title bar text containing the application or process name that generated the error. You may sometimes come across a situation where an error message dialog appearing with no text in the title bar, leaving the user to guess which program caused the error.

Fig 1: Error message dialog with no title bar text.


Fig 2: Error message dialog with title bar text.

Using Process Explorer – “Find Windows’ Process” button

Imagine there are around 25 process showing up in the Task Manager and terminating each one at a time to track down the source process is a difficult task. To track it down quickly, use Process Explorer. It has a “Find Windows’ Process” (target-like) button which lets you know the process name of a window that’s currently open.

Download Process Explorer and run it.

Click the target-like button present in the toolbar area, drag and drop it on the target window (i.e. the error message dialog that you want to track.) To make this possible, first you must keep the error message window and Process Explorer side by side.

Process Explorer automatically highlights the Process name that owns the target Window.

In case the highlighting doesn’t happen, restart Process Explorer elevated (Click the File menu and  and then click “Show Details for All Processes”) and try again, just in case the source process that caused the error, is running elevated.

To know more about that process, double-click it and look at the “Image” tab.

Now you know which application had raised that error message. Start your troubleshooting from here!

Download Process Explorer

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