My favorite. This must be a program used by the government.
Options to delete
"We were creating a developer tool using three different languages: Delphi for the user-interface, C for the system-level stuff, and Synergy/DE for the glue. User requirements forced us to create our own message-box API. With all the hand-shaking between layers, someone confused the definitions for the bit values for what buttons to include on the message box. On the first run, we tried a delete confirmation. This is the message we received."
Error in Visual Studio 2008
Error message seen upon opening the Breakpoint Explorer in Visual Studio 2008.
How do you know if it's missing if you don't know what it is?
"I've only ever see it once and there was no literature available from M$ as to what exactly Device 6 was. After a reboot the system booted and I reloaded DOS to it then went looking at Microsoft. I gave up and called in defeat and rang them to find out what device 6 is supposed to be. Turns out that it's the CPU but without a CPU I'm at more than a bit of a Loss how anything can be displayed on the screen."
You're so not worthy.
"An Oracle Forms app of mine spits out this error message when unauthorized users attempt to delete something they aren't allowed to."
Too much information
"I was creating a HOBS payment back in the 90's. The create instruction dialogue box popped up to let me the world as we know isn't real..."
An internal error is on the lam.
"I often wondered what kind of internal error it was, and where it broke out from!"
Don't bother the guru.
"The BSOD equivalent from the old Commadore Amiga range."
The unexpected error.
Because apparently some errors are expected.
You can't do that!
"I was programming in Fortran on a Data General back in the early 80's and on one run I triggered an error that was displayed as just a number. There was a tool in the OS that allowed you to put in the error code and get a description of the problem. By default the tool was looking for a hex code, but I couldn't tell if the number I had was hex or decimal (I think it was 62), so I requested the error text for the decimal number. At that point I realized I was dealing with powers greater than mere mortals, so I shut off all the lights and quietly went home."
Unknown HACB error.
Make up your mind!
Shut 'er down, Scotty!"
"An error message I would receive when I was installing Xenix Systems for Radio Shack back in the day, and we would get a core dump error."
Why so judgmental?
"Most versions of Basic had a renumber command to tidy up your line numbering. BBC Basic would return reasonable error message during normal use of this but if you input exceedingly large numbers to the command it would just return the error "Silly" with no further comment."
It's wasn't me it was him.
"Back in the late 70's I tried to compile a COBOL program. The compiler message I got. That’s some catchall!"
Can't see? Click here.
The eternal loop.
In other words, we don't know.
Something is terribly wrong.
"We were working in a COBOL environment on an IBM 4341. My co-worker had just been assigned to maintain the payroll system which was home grown. He was attempting to modify the main calculation program which had to be the best example of spaghetti code ever seen in the universe. When I went to his cube and he showed me what was making him red faced."
Error message from PC-Pine
Error message from PC-Pine
Old FoxPro error 120
I think Error 120 is smarter than you think.
Operation completed successfully.
"It sounds like an oxymoron until you realize that in many systems, error code 0 means 'successful completion'."
Limitations of the recovery console.
"This was followed by the Software in question falling into a quivering heap. Still, at least I'd scored those extra points."
"Compiling programs in the proprietary language used by the mini, this error message would occur if there were more than 35 errorsand then the compiler would throw to a new page and print large."
"PDP-11 COBOL: In those days, Column 1 in your program was reserved for forms control. This was a vestige of punched cards and drum printers. Something like "DATA-DIVISION" was supposed to be entered ' DATA-DIVISION.' With column 1 eaten up for forms control, this was interpreted as "ATA-DIVISION" (at least there was no such line in COBOL as "MASS-STORAGE"! :o ) Miss that and you get endless messages: 'Fatal error, abandoning compilation'."
Error, but still printing?
An error message that shows the importance of punctuation.
No misinterpreting that one.
"A system that will occasionally throw out one word... PANIC. Oookay... I have many places that could be in a panic state, can you throw me a clue as to the location, at the very least?"
The server has negative vibes (and also a sad aura).
"If you fail the authentication on a Motorola Canopy wireless radio you get this error. Through a series of highly sophisticated and complex algorithms, this system has determined that you are not presently authorized to use this system function. It could be that you simply mistyped a password, or, it could be that you are some sort of interplanetary alien-being that has no hands and, thus, cannot type."
Second floppy disk
"In the installation manual for installing some program, after the 1st 5.25" floppy finished, the following instruction message: 'Insert the second floppy disk, and click enter.'
Invariably, his staff would get at least one call a day asking how to remove the two floppy disks from the computer."
I can deal with unable, but unwilling?
"Once got this message from a system when attempting a network connection:…Aw, come on please?"
Cannot obtain error message
You know you have problems when the error is that you can't get the error.
What did you do?
"screenshot of an error message from a beta of Windows 98"
-r0, -1, "ENU"
Why didn't you just say so in the first place?
You don't exist.
"The first time I tried installing Mandrake Linux (it was a really early release - kinda rough around the edges), I had to fix something from the command prompt, so I chose that option at the installer boot menu, the shell came up, I fixed what I needed, then I issued the command 'shutdown -r now' to reboot the computer as gently as possible."
Contact Microsoft this error, but we can't tell you what it is.
"This was back in the late '80s when I was using the Microsoft C compiler. I had a faulty RAM chip and got this error."
"The dynamic publishing system I work with (Arbortext) has an error handler, but sometimes an error will cause the error handler to fail as well. In that case, the system just reports the error message: 'Editor: Crash within crash' and exit."
The casual error message.
"Here most messages would say, "Press any key to continue." Some programmer with a sense of humor..."
We know nothing!
And we don't know who created it either.
"Saw this while working on an AS400 with single level memory store. All of disk (permanant addresses) and all of memory (temporary addresses) would be available for a program to use. When the temporary addess space filled up, it could cause main storage to be overwritten. To combat this, a threshold was set to send a message when this threshold was approaching. After uploading a PTF service pack, I'd get that chilling message."
The indecipherable error message.
The lazy error message.
Winning the prize for vagueness.
The "oops" message
"Oops" is never good.
The angry error message.
"I used a bookkeeping program that was written by the owner of the company. (That's a whole different story!) One day when I was just learning my way around this very odd program, it requested a password. I didn't have one, so I just hit Enter and this immediately showed on the screen."
We don't know jack error message.
Good ole DOS errors
It's reserved for the Modem, with a capital M.
Some errors, however, are perfectly welcome.
"I was running a diagnostics application on an Intel 310 Xenix server way back in the late '80s. After about twenty minutes tthis message popped up on the screen."
Can't start without errors.
It takes an error to even get us interested.
Sincerely, a PC.
A required resource was...what?
"When connected to the internet via 3G using Globetrotter Connect software, every 20 minutes or so the whole screen goes white and a popup opens over it with the message."
What about the error in the subsystem?
"Unhelpful error message I got when I tried to log into the MyThree website some years ago."
Comment and share: A gallery of goofy error messages
By Toni Bowers
Toni Bowers is the former Managing Editor of TechRepublic and is the award-winning blogger of the Career Management blog. She has edited newsletters, books, and web sites pertaining to software, IT career, and IT management issues.