Software

Weird Error Messages

Not all error messages are helpful. Some are just plain weird!

When something goes wrong in Windows, you would hope that the error message dialog box would contain some helpful information to assist you in finding the solution to the problem. Unfortunately, that's not always the case. In fact, sometimes the error messages are downright confusing or at the very least, simply weird. In this gallery, we’ll take a look at 24 confusing or weird error messages.

Images by Greg Shultz for TechRepublic

About

Greg Shultz is a freelance Technical Writer. Previously, he has worked as Documentation Specialist in the software industry, a Technical Support Specialist in educational industry, and a Technical Journalist in the computer publishing industry.

65 comments
pinballfrank
pinballfrank

I think that most of these so called error messages must have been written on the first of April..........Microsoft surely can't be serious?

csumbler
csumbler

One of my favourites, trying to shut down a misbehaving Windows ME, "You do not have the system resourses to carry out that operation"

Justin0225
Justin0225

These are some good ones. A couple months ago I was writing some VB code for Office 2003 and got a blank error message. It had ERROR in the title bar and the infamous RED "X" but had no eplanation or anything else. If I could post it I would, I took a screenshot of it.

fiosdave
fiosdave

Last week, I received this error message: No Printer Attached installed ______________________________ No Printer Attached Does this mean that I have an uninstalled printer attached or I should install a printer that is attached.. (duh...)

Snak
Snak

.... is one of my favourites. Not, of course, that Windows copes well with the expected ones....

sfcat
sfcat

The AVG one and the cannot delete are my favorites... except when I get 'em!

martinlatter
martinlatter

Thanks Greg for an informative, eye-opening, and very amusing post. 'a rupture in the space-time continuum' - classic.

pcrx_greg
pcrx_greg

The word occurred is mispelled in the Money error message (ocurred). i guess it never occurred to the MS engineers to use spell check.

arthurborges
arthurborges

With Windows engineers in mind, more than one Windows crock-up has brought back from the grave one of Stalin's dry quips: "For some people, four walls are three too many." Have a great day folks! And thanx for this lovely anthology!

dspearing
dspearing

Tese are funny and maybe I will add a few funny ones in my ap[ for error handling.

w_schader
w_schader

On slide 7 they even misspelled "occurred"

Puregoldj
Puregoldj

My favorite is the "Error: The Operation Completed Successfully". Gee, that's not supposed to happen with Microsoft!!

skeeter1060
skeeter1060

I don't know what was more fun, looking through all of the error messages, or reading the funny comments listed right below them. Thanks, this was pretty darn funny!

afzalabir
afzalabir

Unlike the prior windows OSes, XP/Vista should rarely BSoD on their own. The majority of the BSoDs are related to hardware failures, or at times, faulty software. And as for the non-responding Task Manager, it only happened in my overloaded 700MHz, 256 MB Ram PC.

DarkWaterSong
DarkWaterSong

I got this one from AVG anti-virus one time: Test cannot be started because it already does not exist. I think time travel is involved, and the guys over at AVG got a real kick out of it.

RookieTech
RookieTech

lol thats some kinda funny sounds like the computer had a date with tequilla

Tink!
Tink!

It was a good laugh! Tink :D [oh and yes, I'm REALLY really late in looking at this. Kept it in my emails til I got the time to check it out.]

Cat333Pokemon
Cat333Pokemon

While this is a really funny image gallery, I noticed two of the images were grabbed from my website: "Nothing to Do" and "This window is busy". (I know because the font and color scheme I customized on the computer those are from are the same.)

therealjunkman
therealjunkman

One magazine I sometimes read, I forget now which one, used to have a page of "This is broken". Which often was a stupid error message. "No printer found, press F1 to print this error message" is one of my 'favorites' (NOT!) The "This is broken" became a favorite around here, and I actually use the term in daily life sometimes. If you really want to see some 'helpful' error messages, try Linux! That's a language I can't even speak! (Like I can 'speak' Windows! Not! At least with DOS, I sort of understood what was going on) But Linux really baffles me sometimes. I love to 'MOUNT' something. I hate to 'UNMOUNT' it. Now, if only I could get it to l'go me bloomin' leg... (Now, don't the Brits just have THE most colorful cussing? Almost makes me wish I spoke English, too. (Old Movie: One man speaking to another: "Good GOD man, don't you know The Queen's English"? "Certainly, Go'vna. And so's the King!".) G'day, Mate! Junkman

ATTABOYSLIM
ATTABOYSLIM

I am forever baffled after reading a message advising me that Windows was unable to start a program because the the application failed to respond and a specific path is provided with the query; restart? A yes answer provides the insane : "Windows cannot locate the file, please provide the correct path"

AbbyD
AbbyD

Back in the old days, before I bought my first PC with Windows 386 OS I owned a Commodore Amiga. That machine would often display a red screen with the message: GURU MEDITATION REQUIRED. Those were the fun days when just turning on the computer was a learning experience.

kgunnIT
kgunnIT

haha, great messages...maybe I need to go back through my program and make my error messages a bit more interesting, and fague. I always hated the error messages on Windows ME. Just about everytime I booted up I got some unknown something caused some unknown error. Never knew how to fix it since I didn't know what was causing it.

HAL 9000
HAL 9000 moderator

From the Old DOS Days M$ DOS would sometimes throw up a vague Message that Device 6 Was Missing Please Install Device 6 and continue. The only semi serious answer I ever got for that one was that Device 6 was the CPU so I should fit a CPU and try to install DOS again. I just asked how a 486 could display anything without either a CPU or OS Installed? :D Never did get a suitable answer for that one. ;) Col

regklubeck
regklubeck

The Red Screen of Death (RSOD) misspells "execution"

jhhend
jhhend

In the days of Windows 3.1, my mother once received: "kb interface error, press F1 to continue"...even more opaque than "no keyboard" error.

angelsluv
angelsluv

The infamous BSOD --- The Worst, used to happen with my first Win 95 pc all the time...

tony
tony

Back about 30 years ago, I got the following message when compiling a Cobol program on a mainframe: "Unspecified program error. If program error free, then compiler error". Presumably the ultimate catch-all for some lazy programmer who worked on the compiler.

michael_boardman
michael_boardman

"Epson Spool Manager A intarnal [sic] message broke out. Cancel printing. OK"

kevaburg
kevaburg

I know I shouldn't be reading this stuff when I am tryng to learn at college, but I couldn't tear myself away! It's hilarious! Does anyone at Microsoft get paid to dream these gems up? :)

ilyaskazi
ilyaskazi

some are very funny..and I hv came across with those errors notification on my screen..

Tolga BALCI
Tolga BALCI

Plus, the "execution" is misspelled.

beck.joycem
beck.joycem

Using Access with the QODBC driver for QuickBooks I got the really helpful: 'There was a problem sending the command to the program'. Aw c'mon, give us a clue! An error message is supposed to give you some kind of idea where to start looking.

fritz.sheeter
fritz.sheeter

"I'm Windows 7 - and THAT was my idea..." ;-)

mohabee110
mohabee110

In the 1970's, I used a CDC 6600 mainframe computer, which, if one mistyped a code onto a punched card, and then tried to access information with the unfortunate card, would get this message: "Non-standard command is non-standard" Since all of my work was printed out on large continuous sheets from a dot-matrix hammer printer, what followed was either gibberish or 25 blank sheets of paper! (This was before the days of CRT's and other "high-tech" gear).

MisterIguana
MisterIguana

Everyone seems to steal your stuff don't they?

paulp575
paulp575

Many years ago, there was a computer magazine that had it's last page full of interesting things. One of them was called "Useless error messages" or something to that effect. The most interesting one I can remember was "This error does not exist".

nitra.matsoc
nitra.matsoc

Don't you think the programmers are having a lot of fun writing these error messages?

Ptero.4
Ptero.4

The red screen is for Bootloader errors, the blue one is for kernel errors.

vaughanm
vaughanm

I am not sure if the vista red screen is more serious than a blue screen, I do know that you can change the colour codes of those blue screens, back in the days on win98 I changed mine from blue with white writing to red with black writing.

HAL 9000
HAL 9000 moderator

[b]Something bad has happened your system will now close[/b] with a timer counting down to 0. Very helpful as I have no idea which of the 100 running processed caused this to be displayed. Col

Cat333Pokemon
Cat333Pokemon

It definitely is a surprise meeting someone I recognize on a site like TechRepublic. I'm guessing the author just did a Google search for error messages and grabbed a bunch of funny ones, but didn't credit any of the original sites.

h2owe2
h2owe2

We had a printer that occasionally reported the error message "Printer Feed Jam". We could never work out which opening to place the jam and what variety of jam it preferred.

HAL 9000
HAL 9000 moderator

The Red Screen is for a Fatal Error and the Blue Screen is for a More Fatal Error. Though to be perfectly honest I'm not sure what's more Fatal that Fatal. :D Col

MisterIguana
MisterIguana

That seems likely. Which ones exactly are yours?

drewitz
drewitz

Of course the classic printer error message from office space. "PC Load Letter" I always loved that one. This article was great, really made me laugh.