Deciphering Meaningless Computer Error Messages

At some point or another, every computer user has had Windows or another program lock-up and crash. After this happens, you will sometimes be lucky enough to get an error message. On occasion, that error message will actually give you helpful information about why the computer crashed.

But all too often, the error message will be complete gibberish and offer absolutely nothing that will help you understand why the crash happened, much less what you need to do to fix it. Here is a sample:

Say what????

Next time this happens to you, don’t despair. You can safely assume loads of other people have had the same problem, and that at least some of them have gone to the Web for an answer.

Do a Google search using a portion of the text from the error message you got. Use enough text from the message to get search results for exactly the same error message. Remember to put the search text in double quotes to force your search results to include only items for the exact error message you got. Look through these sites and you will likely find a solution to your crashing problem.

Note that you may find sites that offer a solution, but ask you to register to get it. Some of these sites are reputable, some are not. Ignoring them is the safe thing to do. Odds are you will find the answer to your problem on a public site.

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