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Most Common PC Error Messages

by on August 3, 2012
 

Face it: as much as you may not like to admit it, you are probably highly dependent on your computer. On top of that, it is likely that if something goes wrong with your computer, you have no idea of where to even begin to fix it. For that reason, seeing computer error messages can sometimes be a horrifying experience. Fortunately for us, many of these messages are fairly common, and easy to understand, many are even easy to do something about. Here is a guide to understanding common computer error messages and the solution to the problem.

Access denied

Access Denied

This error occurs if the user has insufficient privileges to a file, or if it has been locked by some program or user.

diagnostic:

For simple access problems, the easiest route to take is to take ownership of the files in question. You must be using an account with administrator privileges to do this! To do it, right click on the file/folder that you want to access and select the “Sharing and Security” menu option.

The Blue Screen of Death On Microsoft Windows operating systems

Blue screen of death

This screen appears when Windows can no longer run because of a severe error.

diagnostic:

1.The most important Blue Screen of Death troubleshooting step you can take is to ask yourself what you just did.

Did you just install a new program or a piece of hardware, update a driver, install an update, etc.? If so, there’s a very good chance that the change you made caused the BSOD.

Undo the change you made and test again for the STOP Error. Depending on what change you made, some solutions might include:

• Startup using Last Known Good Configuration to undo recent registry and driver changes.

• Use System Restore to undo recent system changes.

• Roll Back device driver to version prior to your driver update.

2. Verify that a minimum amount of free space is available on your Windows partition. Blue Screens of Death and other serious issues, like data corruption, can occur if there’s not enough free space on your primary partition used for the Windows operating system.

Note: Microsoft recommends that you maintain at least 100MB of free space but I regularly see problems with free space that low. I usually advise Windows users to keep at least 15% of a drive’s capacity free at all times.

3. Scan your computer for viruses. Some viruses can cause a Blue Screen of Death, especially ones that infect the master boot record (MBR) or boot sector.

Important: Make sure your virus scanning software is completely up to date and that it’s configured to scan the MBR and boot sector.

4. Apply all available Windows service packs and other updates. Microsoft regularly releases patches and service packs for their operating systems that may contain fixes for the cause of your BSOD.

5. Update drivers for your hardware. Most Blue Screens of Death are hardware or driver related so updated drivers could fix the cause of the STOP error.

6. Check the System and Application logs in Event Viewer (7/Vista | XP) for errors or warnings that might provide more clues on the cause of the BSOD.

7. Return hardware settings to default in Device Manager. Unless you have a specific reason to do so, the system resources that an individual piece of hardware is configured to use in Device Manager should be set to default. Non-default hardware settings have been known to cause a Blue Screen of Death.

8. Return BIOS settings to their default levels. An overclocked or misconfigured BIOS can cause all sorts of random issues, including BSODs.

Note: If you’ve made several customizations to your BIOS settings and don’t wish to load the default ones then at least try returning clock speed, voltage settings, and BIOS memory options to their default settings and see if that fixes the STOP error.

9. Make sure all internal cables, cards, and other components are installed and seated properly. Hardware that’s not firmly in place can cause a Blue Screen of Death so try reseating the following and then test for the STOP message again:

•Reseat all internal data and power cables

•Reseat the memory modules

•Reseat any expansion cards

10. Perform diagnostic tests on all hardware you’re able to test. It’s highly likely that the root cause of any given Blue Screen of Death is a failing piece of hardware:

•Test your system memory

•Test your hard disk drive If a test fails, replace the memory or replace the hard drive as soon as possible.

11. Update your BIOS. In some situations, and outdated BIOS could cause a Blue Screen of Death due to certain incompatibilities.   12. Start your PC with essential hardware only. A useful troubleshooting step in many situations, including BSOD issues, is to start your computer with the minimum hardware necessary to run the operating system. If your computer starts successfully it proves that one of the removed hardware devices was the cause of the STOP message.

 

File not found

file_not_found

The file concerned may have been damaged, moved, deleted, or a bug may have caused the error. Alternatively, the file simply might not exist, or the user has mistyped its name.

diagnostic:

The steps below are written for PDFs in Windows 2000, but the theory is the same for other files and other Win 9x operating systems. In other words, the buttons or the order in which you click them may vary:

From the Windows Explorer, choose Tools > Folder Options > File Types tab. Locate the PDF extension.

Click Advanced, select an action (like Open) and choose Edit. The string that performs the action should look similar to the following. The path to the Acrobat executable may be different, and, if you’re fixing this for Reader, the executable file name may be different, but the point is that you may be missing the %1 or some quotes: “C:Program FilesAdobeAcrobat 5.0AcrobatAcrobat.exe” “%1”

Fix it, save it, and see if it works.

 

Low Disk Space

low-disk-space

This error occurs when the hard drive is (nearly) full.

diagnostic:

There are only two ways to fix low disk space. One way is scouring the Add/Remove Program section of your Control Panel and uninstalling everything that you don’t use. The other way is by purchasing and installing a new hard drive as a secondary hard drive.

Also another option to free up some space is going to compter then right clicking on your drive (example drive C:) to bring up properties, Now click on dick cleanup from there you have options to clean up several system files including recycle bin and temporary Internet files which are the most common folders you need to cleanup as you don’t use the files in it.

 

Out of memory

out_of_memory

This error occurs when the system has run out of memory or tries to load a file too large to store in RAM.

diagnostic:

Close some programs, or install more memory (ram).

 

 

[program name] has encountered a problem and needs to close

[program name] has encountered a problem and needs to close

We are sorry for the inconvenience. This message is displayed by Microsoft Windows when a program causes a general protection fault or invalid page fault.

diagnostic:

If you’re operating either an XP or Vista 32-bit operating system, try changing the Data Execution Prevention settings.  Data Execution Prevention (DEP) is a security element that aids in preventing damage, from viruses and other security threats, to your machine.  It does this by monitoring the programs on your computer and ensuring that they are using its system memory safely.   If all of the programs on your machine are protected by DEP, you can choose to exclude individual programs from this list.  You would want to do this if you believe a program is not running correctly when DEP is turned on.  Below are a few steps that describe how to manually allow to get beyond the Data Execution Prevention security features in Windows XP and Windows Vista 32-bit editions.

Instructions for resolving this issue:

1. In Windows, go to Start > Run, then type sysdm.cpl and then click OK. (If you’re using Windows Vista, Click on Start, type sysdm.cpl in the search box and press “Enter” key).

2. Under the Advanced tab click the Settings button listed within the Performance area.

3. Click the Data Execution Prevention tab, and then click “Turn on DEP for all programs and services except those I select”.

4. Next, click Add.  Browse to the folder with the software you are working with – i.e., C:Program FilesSonyVegas Movie Studio Platinum 9.0.  Find the application executable file – i.e, VegasMovieStudioPE90.exe, left click on that and choose Open.

5. Apply these changes and dismiss the Data Execution Prevention window, and other system properties windows. You may need to restart your computer. If you are asked to restart, do that and then try opening Vegas again.

 

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