Chapter 30. What to Do When You Receive a Windows Error Message
IN THIS CHAPTER
Windows uses error messages to try and tell you why something bad has
Because Windows can display literally thousands of error messages—some of them
If your message isn't in this list, don't despair—it just means you have something really weird happening with your system. Write down the message and call a competent computer technician. They'll be glad to help you out.
Understanding Common Error Messages
To help you figure out what
A fatal exception <XY> has occurred at xxxx:xxxxxxxx
Windows does not cause these fatal exception errors; these messages are just Windows' way of reporting a problem
This error is typically caused by a software bug that causes two drivers (or applications) to try to use the same area of memory. After you get past the error message (and close one of the applications in question), you probably won't see the error again; it's an intermittent thing.
If the error message repeats, you'll need to try to track down which applications or drivers are
This message occurs when a Windows application crashes unexpectedly, most often due to memory problems. Sometimes this kind of program crash will also crash Windows itself.
Another application is using communication port
You are running two programs that are both trying to access a single communication port, such as two communications programs. Close one of the two programs to avoid the current conflict.
Application execution error: Cannot find file. Check to ensure
The predecessor to the GPF in earlier versions of Windows was the UAE (unrecoverable application error).
This message is similar to the fatal exception error, the result of two drivers (or applications) trying to use the same area of memory. After you get past the error message (and close one of the applications in question), you probably won't see the error again; it's an intermittent thing. If the error message repeats, you'll need to try to track down which applications or drivers are causing the problem, and then contact the appropriate manufacturers for more detailed technical support.
Your system is short on hard disk space. Try deleting some unneeded files and then restarting the operation at hand.
You're trying to launch a program but don't have enough free system memory to do so. Try closing down any open applications before relaunching the new application; if this message occurs again, reboot your system to clear up memory clogs.
Windows displays this message when you try to copy a file to a folder or drive that doesn't exist. Check your commands and try this operation again.
This message is similar to the fatal exception error, typically the result of two drivers (or applications) trying to use the same area of memory. After you get past the error message (and close one of the applications in question), you probably won't see the error again; it's an intermittent thing.
This message is also generated when you run low on RAM, or when your system's virtual memory becomes unstable due to a shortage of free disk space. If the message persists, reboot your PC to release any memory leaks and, if necessary, delete unnecessary files from your hard disk to free up some disk space.
This message is generated when a device driver is either missing, corrupted, or incompatible with your version of Windows. If you recently installed a new device or program, try uninstalling and reinstalling it to fix the driver file. If the problem continues, contact the manufacturer of the problem device for an updated driver file.
The problem that causes this message can sometimes stop Windows from loading. If so, you'll need to restart in Safe mode to remove the device.
This message appears when you've tried to start your system with a non-bootable disk in your A: drive. Remove the disk and press any key to continue.
This error is generated when your computer can't find a keyboard attached to your system during startup—or if one of your keys is stuck. Make sure your keyboard is connected (and the keys unstuck) and then reboot with the power button/switch on your system unit. (Because your keyboard is recognized, you actually can't press F1 to continue!)
If no program file is associated with a data file you're trying to launch, you'll receive this message. To associate a program file with a file type, open the Control Panel and launch the Folder Options utility. When the Folder Options dialog box appears, select the File Types tab. Add a new file type by clicking the New Type button and filling in the blanks in the Add New File Type dialog box.
You're trying to add a new device to your Windows and all of your COM ports are filled. You'll need to uninstall one of your current devices before you can add the new device.
You typed an invalid filename for a file operation. Remove any illegal characters from the filename. See "This filename is not valid" later in this chapter for a list of
There isn't enough free space on the current disk to continue with the operation. Delete some files and try again.
This error occurs when you try to launch an application but your system is low on available memory. Here are some solutions to try:
Close any open applications—including background utilities—and then restart the latest program. The more applications you have open, the less system memory you have available for additional applications.
Close all applications, exit Windows, and restart your computer. Sometimes Windows applications don't free up all their memory when they close. This memory "leakage" can build up over time and drain your system resources. Exiting and relaunching Windows
Free up extra disk space on your system. You can do this by emptying the Recycle Bin or deleting unused files or applications. Because Windows uses extra disk space as virtual memory, having too little disk space free can result in insufficient memory problems.
Windows displays this message when you try to open a document and there is no file type associated. Choose a program to open the file with from the list in the dialog box, or click the Browse button to choose from other programs on your system.
Windows has trouble running under low memory conditions. When this message is generated, try closing some open applications to free up memory space. If Windows continues to generate this message, exit Windows and reboot your system to free up any unreleased memory.
This message most often results when something is wrong with your system memory. It's also possible that a power supply problem can cause this message. Whatever the cause, rebooting your system and restarting Windows generally clears things up.
If this message appears with some degree of regularity, you might have a defective memory chip or some
You're trying to exit Windows while a print job is still in progress. Either finish or cancel the print job before you try exiting again.
The error message is caused by a problem with your modem driver. You might need to uninstall and then reinstall your modem to continue.
Windows encountered a problem reading one of your
While installing a new version of Windows, you have one or more applications open. Close the open applications and then continue with your installation.
This is an odd problem you might encounter while installing Windows. The root folder of a drive holds a maximum of 512 files and/or folders, and your root folder apparently contains more files/folders than this. Move or delete some files to continue the installation.
You're trying to install a new version of Windows, but your hard drive does not have enough free space to back up the previous system files. Because you need up to 75MB or more free space to continue, try deleting as many files as you can.
When some piece of hardware in your system stops working, this message is generated. You'll see it often when something is wrong with your disk drives—like you're using an unformatted disk or you
When you see this message, it means that the file associated with this shortcut has been moved or deleted. If the file's location has changed, right-click the shortcut icon, select Properties from the pop-up menu, select the Shortcut tab when the Properties dialog box appears, and enter a new location in the Target box. If the file has been deleted, delete the shortcut by dragging the shortcut icon into the Recycle Bin.
This message is generated when you are starting up Windows on a network, or when you are logging on to the network after another user has logged off, and tells you that either the username or password you entered was incorrect. Check both and try logging in again. If you're sure you entered the correct information, contact your network's administrator for assistance.
You should also check the Ethernet cable running from your PC to your network hub. Make sure it's still connected and that the link light is working.
This message appears when your printer is not ready to print. It might be offline or out of paper. Check your printer and click the Retry button to resume the print job.
This message appears when something is wrong with your printer or your printer setup. Here are some possible solutions to the problem:
Make sure your printer is actually turned on and is online.
Make sure you have paper in your printer. If not, refill your paper tray.
Check your printer for paper jams.
Double-check all cable connections; make sure both ends of the printer cable are securely fastened.
If these simple solutions don't fix your problem, check your printer configuration.
This message appears when you type an illegal name for a filename. An illegal name would include characters that you can't use for filenames. Remove any illegal characters from the filename and save the file again.
The following characters (called "illegal" characters) cannot be used to name a file in Windows: / \ * < > ? " :
This message appears when a program has ceased proper operation, for whatever reason (typically untraceable). Click the Close button to close the offending program.
This is a new error message in Windows XP that is displayed after you've had a program crash. (In Windows XP—in most cases—a program crash doesn't crash the entire operating system.) The message goes on to tell you that a log of this error has been created, and then prompts you to "
What happens when you click the Send Error Report button? Well, you can see for yourself by clicking the "To see what data this error report contains, click here" link. Windows will now display a totally incomprehensible collection of technical information that doesn't tell you diddly squat.
The big concern, of course, is how much of this information is technical and how much is personal; most users don't want to send Microsoft any more personal data than they
So, should you send the error report? I'd recommend not, as you don't directly benefit from it; Microsoft uses this information for future bug fixes, not to help you with your specific problem. Just click the Don't Send button and continue with whatever you were doing before the message appeared.
By the way, if you get this message every time you
This message is generated when certain Windows XP files become garbled, making your hard disk inaccessible. The solution is to use XP's new Recovery Console utility to repair the installation. Follow these steps:
Reboot your computer using the Windows installation CD.
When you see the Welcome to Setup screen, press the R key on your keyboard to start the Recovery Console.
You're now presented with a command prompt. Enter chkdsk and press Enter.
Enter exit and press Enter to quit the Recovery Console and restart your computer.
If this doesn't fix the problem, restart the Recovery Console and run the chkdsk /r command.
This error typically occurs when your computer attempts to load or unload a problematic virtual device driver (VXD). In most cases, the
If you can track down the driver causing the problem, you can usually fix things by reinstalling or updating the driver, repairing any damaged Registry entries, or eliminating any driver conflicts.
You might see this message if you're trying to install (or reinstall) Windows and you're running antivirus software. This can also be caused if you have "Boot Sector Protect" enabled in your systems CMOS BIOS settings; check your BIOS on system startup to disable this setting.
On a pre-Windows XP system, this message is displayed the next time you restart your computer after you've improperly exited Windows. (Windows then proceeds to run ScanDisk to search for any disk errors resulting from the improper shutdown.) Remember to shut down Windows properly
You're trying to perform a file operation on a disk that is write protected. Change disks, or slide the write-protect tab into the down position.
This message appears when a disk drive is not yet ready; the X represents the drive with the problem. If the problem is with a disk, CD-ROM, or DVD drive, insert the proper diskette or disc in the drive. If the problem is with a hard disk drive, you might have some major problems with your system; consult a technician for more information.
You'll also see this message if you insert a CD into your PC and then try to explore it via My Computer before Windows has had a chance to recognize the disc. Just hold your horses until all the lights quit blinking, and then go ahead and access the disc.
You're trying to format a disk that is write-protected. Change disks or slide the write-protect tab into the down position.
THE ABSOLUTE MINIMUM
Well, that's all there is. I hope you've enjoyed this book, and picked up some useful information and advice about upgrading and fixing your PC. As to the information in this chapter, keep these points in mind: