Dialog Filter (Industry 8.1)

May 7, 2015

Learn how to turn on, configure, and turn off Dialog Filter for your Windows Embedded 8.1 Industry (Industry 8.1) device.

You can use Dialog Filter to control which dialog boxes and windows are displayed on the screen, and to automatically handle dialog boxes by taking a default action, such as to close or show the dialog box. Also, in Windows Embedded 8.1 Industry (Industry 8.1), you can configure Dialog Filter to always show dialog boxes from specific processes, regardless of the specified default action.


Dialog Filter cannot block dialog boxes that are created by applications that are run as administrator.

Turn Dialog Filter on or off

By default, Dialog Filter is not turned on. You can turn Dialog Filter on or off for your Industry 8.1 device by using the following steps:

To turn Dialog Filter on or off by using Control Panel

  1. In Control Panel, click Programs and Features.

  2. On the Programs and Features window, click Turn Windows features on or off.

  3. In the Windows Features window, expand the Embedded Features node, and check or clear the checkbox for Dialog Filter.

To turn Dialog Filter on or off by using DISM

  1. Open a command prompt with administrator rights.

  2. At the command prompt, type the following command to turn on Dialog Filter:

    Dism /online /Enable-Feature /FeatureName:ISKU-DialogFilter


    Type the following command to turn off Dialog Filter:

    Dism /online /Disable-Feature /FeatureName:ISKU-DialogFilter

Dialog Filter, is automatically enabled when you turn it on.

Turning on Dialog Filter does not require a device restart.

Block dialog boxes

Each time a process creates or attempts to show a dialog box, Dialog Filter examines the properties of the new dialog box to determine if any actions need to be taken on the dialog box. Dialog Filter blocks any dialog box that matches entries in the blocked dialog box list.

Dialog Filter identifies dialog boxes based on the title of the dialog box, the full path name of the process that created the dialog box, and the names and types of the top level controls that belong to the dialog box. This allows Dialog Filter to handle dialog boxes created with the .NET Framework or Windows Presentation Foundation (WPF). A window must have a title and at least one button in order for Dialog Filter to be able to block the window.

Dialog Filter only examines dialog boxes that have the desktop defined as the parent window. This prevents Dialog Filter from affecting lower level UI elements, such as buttons, controls, etc.

Default actions

You can configure Dialog Filter to take a default action for any top level dialog box that is not blocked or part of a protected process. The default action can be to close or show the dialog box.

If the default action is not defined, then Dialog Filter shows the dialog box by default.

Protected processes

You can configure Dialog Filter to indicate that a specific process is protected. This means that if a dialog box belongs to a protected process, the dialog box is shown, regardless of the configured default action. Dialog boxes that are specifically blocked are still blocked for protected processes.

Dialog Filter and the new Windows user interface

Dialog Filter is designed to block Win32 style dialogs. Here are some things to consider when you use Dialog Filter along with the new Windows user interface:

  • Dialog Filter cannot block toast notifications.
    • To block app toast notifications, you can turn off app notifications in PC Settings under the Notifications tab, or you can configure Group Policy to turn off app toast notifications under User Configuration > Administrative Template > Start Menu and Task Bar > Notifications.
    • To block system toast notifications, you can use Toast Notification Filter.
  • If you set the default action to close, Dialog Filter blocks some features of the new Windows UI, such as charms, unless you add explorer.exe as a protected process.
  • Dialog Filter cannot block dialog boxes that have no title or no buttons, such as the dialog box that is displayed when a user presses the mail key on a keyboard when no default mail client is defined.

Configure Dialog Filter

You can configure Dialog Filter by using Windows Management Instrumentation (WMI) providers. All configuration settings for Dialog Filter are stored in the registry, and configuration changes take effect immediately. You can configure the following options:

  • Add, remove, or edit dialog boxes in the blocked list.
  • Add, remove, or edit processes in the protected processes list.
  • Set default action to close or show.
  • Get the list of currently visible dialog boxes.

You can use the Dialog Filter WMI providers directly in a Windows PowerShell script or in an application. You can also use ELM to configure Dialog Filter, and identify active dialog boxes on your device and block them. The ELM can also generate Windows PowerShell scripts that use the WMI providers to configure Dialog Filter.

For more information about Dialog Filter WMI providers, see Dialog Filter WMI provider reference.

For more information about the ELM, see Embedded Lockdown Manager.

Known Limitations

Do not use Dialog Filter with the InstantGo (WE8.1) or Connected Standby (CS) (WE8) state. If you do, then some applications (e.g., Alarm) will not wake your WE8S, WE8I, or WE8.1I machine from the InstantGo or CS state. If Dialog Filter is active on a device in either state, you may need to press the power button to wake the system manually.

Dialog Filter intercepts a window when it is created. Therefore, Dialog Filter cannot block windows that change their title, process name, class, or buttons after they are created. In the following examples, Dialog Filter cannot block a window :

  • A new Notepad file has the title "Untitled - Notepad". When you save the file and give it a new file name, Dialog Filter will not block the window with the new title.
  • When using Personalize or Screen resolution (right-click the Desktop), Explorer.exe will update the window title after its creation. This title change prevents Dialog Filter from blocking the window.

See Also


Lockdown features