How to convert an error code to an message ID? RRS feed

  • Question

  • How to convert the message ID returned by GetLastError() When calling GetLastError(), it returns an error code, but how to convert that code to a message ID? I have an error code, which Windows has for the message, but not the message ID, so it's only at non-compiled headers (ex: WinError.h) which has the code at the comments or at the declaration at the #define preprocessor constant variable name, which cannot be retrieved by compiled code because compiled code cannot interpret non-compiled ones, and this may make dependencies between the WinError.h file and the application (which may or may not be pre-compiled) and loops may decrease performance (windows error codes are 1000+) which is going to cause sluggish applications This is the code


    How to solve this and without loops?

    Some applications like Visual Studio are able to retrieve the message ID instantly

    I have tried a) searching winerror.h b) making own table (but no know-how to return the info from it) I have expected a) Success I have got a) nothing, only null string and it made the string terminate unexpectedly.

    Tuesday, March 7, 2023 1:59 PM

All replies

  • To convert the error code returned by GetLastError() to a message ID without using loops, you can use the FormatMessage function provided by the Windows API. This function can retrieve the message string for a given error code and format it according to your requirements.

    Here's an example of how to use the FormatMessage function to convert an error code to a message ID:

    • Declare a buffer to store the message string and initialize it to NULL:
    LPSTR messageBuffer = NULL;
    • Call the FormatMessage function, passing in the error code, the location of the buffer, the size of the buffer, and any additional formatting options you require:
    DWORD dwError = GetLastError();
                  FORMAT_MESSAGE_FROM_SYSTEM |

    Check if the function succeeded by checking the return value. If it succeeded, the message string will be stored in the buffer:

    if (messageBuffer != NULL)
        // Use the message string as needed
        printf("Error message: %s\n", messageBuffer);
        // Free the buffer
    By using the FormatMessage function, you can avoid the need for loops or custom tables to convert error codes to message IDs. Instead, the function will retrieve the message string for you and format it as required.


    Microsoft Docs. "FormatMessage function."

    • Proposed as answer by Hajira Banu Monday, March 27, 2023 5:59 PM
    Monday, March 27, 2023 5:58 PM
  • It returns "Access is denied" rather than "ERROR_ACCESS_DENIED" for the error code 5 (0x5).
    Saturday, April 1, 2023 12:21 PM
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    Wednesday, April 5, 2023 3:56 AM
  • Error codes are typically specific to the software or system generating them, and there is no universal standard for converting error codes to message IDs. However, some systems may use RSS (Really Simple Syndication) feeds to provide error messages or updates. In such cases, the error code may be included as part of the message ID in the RSS feed. To convert an error code to a message ID in an RSS feed, you would need to refer to the documentation or guidelines provided by the specific software or system generating the error code and RSS feed.

    Thursday, April 6, 2023 11:39 AM
  • When calling GetLastError(), it returns an error code, but how to convert that code to a message? This is a common question among software developers. Fortunately, Windows provides a wide range of APIs and functions specifically designed to provide information on the meaning of error codes returned by the operating system.

    The most commonly used function when attempting to retrieve message IDs from errors codes is formattingMessage(). It takes an input parameter which can be either an error code or HRESULT value and output parameter which will contain formatted messages for the given error code. The function also supports writing messages into a buffer provided by user-mode applications as well as retrieving localized strings, depending on user’s regional settings and installed language packs.

    Another useful function in this regard is GetSystemErrorCodeName(), whose sole purpose is converting error codes from DWORD values into more meaningful human readable strings. The string returned can then be further processed using FormatMessage() function in order to get actual text descriptions for given errors.

    Additionally, Windows also offers functions such as FormatMessageFromHModule() or LoadStringEx() which allow extracting localized resource messages (defined inside *.DLL files) and directly display them without buying additional workarounds like parsing or pre-processing user’s default language selection at run time etc.   Ultimately these APIs make it easier for software developers to look up desired information while debugging their applications with minimal extra effort involved!
    Thursday, April 27, 2023 5:04 AM
  • To convert the error code returned by GetLastError() to a message ID, you can use the FormatMessage() function provided by Windows API. This function formats a message string for a given message identifier and inserts any necessary data for the message.

    Here's an example of how to use FormatMessage() to convert an error code to a message string:

    Copy code
    DWORD error_code = GetLastError();
    LPSTR message_buffer = NULL;

    // Use FORMAT_MESSAGE_ALLOCATE_BUFFER to allocate a buffer for the message

    if (message_buffer != NULL) {
        // Use the message string as needed
        printf("Error message: %s\n", message_buffer);

        // Free the message buffer when done
    In this example, FormatMessage() is called with FORMAT_MESSAGE_ALLOCATE_BUFFER to allocate a buffer for the message. The FORMAT_MESSAGE_FROM_SYSTEM flag tells FormatMessage() to retrieve the message from the system message table, and the FORMAT_MESSAGE_IGNORE_INSERTS flag tells it to ignore any insert sequences in the message.

    If FormatMessage() is successful, it will return the length of the formatted message. The formatted message string will be stored in the buffer pointed to by message_buffer, which must be freed with LocalFree() when you're done with it.

    Note that FormatMessage() may also fail and return 0. In that case, you can use GetLastError() to retrieve the error code and handle the error accordingly.


    Rachel Gomez

    Friday, May 12, 2023 5:49 AM
  • You can close any Metro style application by moving the mouse to the top of the application until the icon changes to a hand. Click and drag the application to the botton of the screen. This should return you back to the Start Screen. The application runs for several seconds (in the bacground) and then it should terminate (as seen with Task Manager).
    Friday, May 12, 2023 5:51 AM
  • To convert an error code returned by GetLastError() to a message string, you can use the FormatMessage() function provided by the Windows API. The FormatMessage() function retrieves the message string for a given error code from the system's message table resources.

    Here's an example of how you can use the FormatMessage() function to convert an error code to a message string in C++:

    cpp<button class="flex ml-auto gap-2" style="border-width:0px;border-style:solid;border-color:#d9d9e3;--tw-border-spacing-x:0;--tw-border-spacing-y:0;--tw-translate-x:0;--tw-translate-y:0;--tw-rotate:0;--tw-skew-x:0;--tw-skew-y:0;--tw-scale-x:1;--tw-scale-y:1;--tw-pan-x:;--tw-pan-y:;--tw-pinch-zoom:;--tw-scroll-snap-strictness:proximity;--tw-gradient-from---tw-gradient-via---tw-gradient-to---tw-ordinal:;--tw-slashed-zero:;--tw-numeric-figure:;--tw-numeric-spacing:;--tw-numeric-fraction:;--tw-ring-inset:;--tw-ring-offset-width:0px;--tw-ring-offset-color:#fff;--tw-ring-color:rgba(69,89,164,.5);--tw-ring-offset-shadow:0 0 transparent;--tw-ring-shadow:0 0 transparent;--tw-shadow:0 0 transparent;--tw-shadow-colored:0 0 transparent;--tw-blur:;--tw-brightness:;--tw-contrast:;--tw-grayscale:;--tw-hue-rotate:;--tw-invert:;--tw-saturate:;--tw-sepia:;--tw-drop-shadow:;--tw-backdrop-blur:;--tw-backdrop-brightness:;--tw-backdrop-contrast:;--tw-backdrop-grayscale:;--tw-backdrop-hue-rotate:;--tw-backdrop-invert:;--tw-backdrop-opacity:;--tw-backdrop-saturate:;--tw-backdrop-sepia:;font-family:inherit;font-size:12px;font-weight:inherit;line-height:inherit;margin:0px 0px 0px auto;padding:0px;appearance:button;background-image:none;cursor:pointer;display:flex;gap:0.5rem;"><svg class="h-4 w-4" fill="none" height="1em" stroke="currentColor" stroke-linecap="round" stroke-linejoin="round" stroke-width="2" viewBox="0 0 24 24" width="1em" xmlns=""><path d="M16 4h2a2 2 0 0 1 2 2v14a2 2 0 0 1-2 2H6a2 2 0 0 1-2-2V6a2 2 0 0 1 2-2h2"></path><rect height="4" rx="1" ry="1" width="8" x="8" y="2"></rect></svg>Copy code</button>
    #include <Windows.h> #include <iostream> int main() { DWORD errorCode = GetLastError(); LPSTR messageBuffer = nullptr; DWORD messageLength = FormatMessageA( FORMAT_MESSAGE_ALLOCATE_BUFFER | FORMAT_MESSAGE_FROM_SYSTEM | FORMAT_MESSAGE_IGNORE_INSERTS, NULL, errorCode, MAKELANGID(LANG_NEUTRAL, SUBLANG_DEFAULT), (LPSTR)&messageBuffer, 0, NULL ); if (messageLength > 0) { // Remove any trailing newline characters if (messageBuffer[messageLength - 1] == '\n') { messageBuffer[messageLength - 1] = '\0'; } std::cout << "Error message: " << messageBuffer << std::endl; // Free the memory allocated for the message buffer LocalFree(messageBuffer); } else { // Failed to retrieve the error message std::cout << "Failed to retrieve error message." << std::endl; } return 0; }

    In this example, we first obtain the error code using GetLastError(). Then, we use the FormatMessageA() function to retrieve the corresponding error message string. The FORMAT_MESSAGE_ALLOCATE_BUFFER flag instructs the function to allocate memory for the message buffer, and the FORMAT_MESSAGE_FROM_SYSTEM flag specifies that the message should be retrieved from the system's message table. The resulting error message is printed to the console.

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    Saturday, May 27, 2023 6:27 AM