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I have app that used to display a message "processing" after clicking OK button then another message "done", but now it doesn't. So I got reverse it and see whats happening, but it turns out that the way of searching for strings doesn't work, so I searched for the messagebox API but I found messageboxA twice and MessageboxW once and they both seem not be used for that.

So, I would like to know if it's possible that the message could be displayed without the use of MessageBox API or even DLL can display the message without the API? please help

  • what kind of message in the message box? custom ? standard win32? compilation of system strings? ... also an screenshot would be nice if possible (so we can see more...) If you can make it work on some test machine then check also the CLASS_ID of the message box it can reveal if it is windows message box or custom formular that just looks like it... – Spektre Feb 2 '16 at 9:19
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  1. First you need to determine if it is windows message box or not.

    What kind of message is in the message box (custom/standard win32/compilation of system strings)? Also an screen-shot would be nice if possible (so we can see more...) If you can make it work on some test machine then check also the CLASS_ID of the message box it can reveal if it is windows message box or custom VCL Form that just looks like it... You can obtain the Class_ID with

    but its deleted and you do not have enough rep on SO to see it so here the copied source (VCL C++ so you need just port to Pascal if you do not have Borland C++) from it:

    //---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    //--- Windows ver: 1.1 ------------------------------------------------------
    //---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    HWND getwindow(HWND hnd0,AnsiString nam,AnsiString cls="")
        {
        int i,l,ln=nam.Length(),lc=cls.Length(),e;
        char txt[256];
        HWND hnd1;
        if (hnd0==NULL) hnd1=GetTopWindow(hnd0);
        else            hnd1=GetWindow(hnd0,GW_HWNDNEXT);
        for (;;)
            {
            e=1;
            if (hnd1==hnd0) break;
            if (hnd1==NULL) break;
            l=GetWindowText(hnd1,txt,256);
            if (e) { if (l>ln) l=ln; if (l<ln) e=0; else for (i=0;i<l;i++) if (txt[i]!=nam[i+1]) { e=0; break; } }
            l=RealGetWindowClass(hnd1,txt,256);
            if (e) { if (l>lc) l=lc; if (l<lc) e=0; else for (i=0;i<l;i++) if (txt[i]!=cls[i+1]) { e=0; break; } }
            if (e) return hnd1;
            hnd0=hnd1;
            hnd1=GetWindow(hnd0,GW_HWNDNEXT);
            }
        return NULL;
        };
    //---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    HWND getsubwindow(HWND hndp,HWND hnd0,AnsiString nam,AnsiString cls="")
        {
        int i,l,ln=nam.Length(),lc=cls.Length(),e;
        char txt[256];
        HWND hnd1;
        if (hnd0==NULL) hnd1=GetTopWindow(hnd0);
        else            hnd1=GetWindow(hnd0,GW_HWNDNEXT);
        for (;;)
            {
            e=1;
            if (hnd1==hnd0) break;
            if (hnd1==NULL) break;
            if (GetParent(hnd1)!=hndp) e=0;
            l=GetWindowText(hnd1,txt,256);
            if (e) { if (l>ln) l=ln; if (l<ln) e=0; else for (i=0;i<l;i++) if (txt[i]!=nam[i+1]) { e=0; break; } }
            l=RealGetWindowClass(hnd1,txt,256);
            if (e) { if (l>lc) l=lc; if (l<lc) e=0; else for (i=0;i<l;i++) if (txt[i]!=cls[i+1]) { e=0; break; } }
            if (e) return hnd1;
            hnd0=hnd1;
            hnd1=GetWindow(hnd0,GW_HWNDNEXT);
            }
        return NULL;
        };
    //---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    bool getwindows(HWND &hnd,AnsiString &nam,AnsiString &cls)
        {
        int i,l;
        char txt[256];
        HWND hnd0=hnd;
        nam=""; cls="";
        if (hnd0==NULL) hnd=GetTopWindow(hnd0);
        else            hnd=GetWindow(hnd0,GW_HWNDNEXT);
        if (hnd==hnd0) { hnd=NULL; return false; }
        if (hnd==NULL) { hnd=NULL; return false; }
        l=GetWindowText(hnd,txt,256);       for (i=0;i<l;i++) nam+=txt[i];
        l=RealGetWindowClass(hnd,txt,256);  for (i=0;i<l;i++) cls+=txt[i];
        return true;
        };
    //---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    //---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    //---------------------------------------------------------------------------

It is written in BDS2006 Turbo C++ and use VCL so you need to convert it to your Language. Actually it uses only AnsiString from VCL so just change it to any string you have. It is WinAPI based so include "Windows.h"

Here is some example of usage:

    HANDLE hnd,hnd0;
    AnsiString nam,cls;
    AnsiString s,t="";
    for (hnd=NULL;;)
        {
        if (!getwindows(hnd,nam,cls)) break;    // get hnd,name and class
        hnd0=GetParent(hnd);            // get parent hnd
        if (hnd0!=Application->Handle) continue;// filter out unwanted windows
        // here process found window or add it to list or what ever
        // for example add to memo->Lines->Add(...) so you obtain a list of all windows ...
        s=AnsiString().sprintf("%X",hnd); while (s.Length()< 8) s="0"+s; t+=s+"h ";
        s=cls;                            while (s.Length()<32) s=s+" "; t+=s+" ";
        s=nam;                            while (s.Length()<32) s=s+" "; t+=s+"\r\n";
        }
    mm_log->Text=t; // just my memo

Here few lines of the unfiltered output:

    Handle:   Class_ID:                        Name
    0003060Ch TTokenWindow                     CodeParamWindow                 
    00030374h ComboLBox                                                        
    000100F8h tooltips_class32                                                 
    000100FAh TaskListThumbnailWnd                                             
    000100E6h tooltips_class32                                                 
    000100E8h tooltips_class32                                                 
    000100ECh tooltips_class32                                                 
    000100EEh tooltips_class32                                                 
    000100D0h tooltips_class32                                                 
    000100E4h tooltips_class32                                                 
    000100C8h Button                           Start                           
    00030118h tooltips_class32                                                 
    0003013Eh tooltips_class32                                                 
    00040122h tooltips_class32                                                 
    00090102h tooltips_class32                                                 
    000100C2h Shell_TrayWnd                                                    
    000303ECh TaskSwitcherOverlayWnd                                           
    00010240h IME                              Default IME                     
    0001023Eh TaskSwitcherWnd                  Task Switching                  
    00030376h ComboLBox                                                        
    000403A0h Auto-Suggest Dropdown                                            
    00010108h CiceroUIWndFrame                 CiceroUIWndFrame                
    000100C6h MSCTFIME UI                      MSCTFIME UI                     
    000100C0h IME                              Default IME                     
    00010158h tooltips_class32                                                 
    00010246h ATL:000007FEF0EF52C0             Network Flyout                  
    00010180h CDA Server Class                 Administrator : CDA Server      
    00010182h IME                              Default IME                     
    0001008Ch CiceroUIWndFrame                 CiceroUIWndFrame                
    0001008Ah CiceroUIWndFrame                 TF_FloatingLangBar_WndTitle     
    000303CEh tooltips_class32                                                 
    0003061Eh TForm1                           Project Euler                   
    00090566h TApplication                     Project1                        
    0003061Ah TPUtilWindow                                                     
    00050610h IME                              Default IME                     
    00090386h MSCTFIME UI                      MSCTFIME UI                     
    00210408h IME                              Default IME                     
    000B0416h TEditWindow                      Unit1.cpp                       
    0007057Ch TWatchWindow                     Watch List                      
    000105B2h TTabDockHostForm                 Project1.bdsproj - Project Manager

As you can see there will be many handles (all the visual components are like window so you need to filter out many things ... for example find the hnd of your Message box App. and then show only handles which have the same parrent hnd0.

For example I just created a message box to get the Class_ID:

    int ret=MessageDlg("Test message",mtCustom,TMsgDlgButtons(mrOk),-1); // cls = "TMessageForm"

To get the parent handle you need to search the unfiltered list for class TApplication. I used Application->Handle instead as I test this directly in the same App.

  1. if the message box is native win32

    Then that does not necessarily mean the App calls winapi directly. Most likely it uses some VCL encapsulation of it instead. So browns the Delphi IDE help for any message box function names ... test them and look if the Class_ID matches with your app ...

  2. if the message box is not native win32

    Then it is most likely normal VCL window. The class name is then the name of the Delphi window class like TForm1. Name of window is usually its Caption and for App the exe filename. In this case showing dialog is different:

    • set position Left,Top,Width,Height or call SetBounds()
    • set the message can be a TLabel,TEdit,... Text or Caption property or directly rendered on Canvas.
    • set Visible=true or use ShowWindow,ShowModal ...

    So you know what to look for ...

  3. Text

    For multilingual App the text is usually in some *.ini or *.dll file. In case of DLL the DLL can be compressed or encrypted so it is not easily visible. Try to search for files with Languages in filenames.

Hope it helps a bit if you got more info let me know.

4

The MessageBox API just creates a windows dialog and spins in a message loop until it is closed.

A program can do this themselves without using MessageBox, you can look for calls to either CreateDialog, or CreateWindow.

  • i have located only CreateWindowExW and it is also not used for a message display – D.Trap Jan 23 '16 at 13:39
1

try to open the executable in CFF Explorer's hex editor and search for those strings, if you cant find them then i suggest you look for help about finding the hidden code inside executable. i think programmers can hide the portion of code sometimes and encrypt or hide strings as well. find the portion of code that is hidden then look for the API again.

  • yeah it seems like its hidden somewhere, how do find the hidden code inside the executable? – D.Trap Jan 23 '16 at 13:40

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