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Trouble Shooting Windows Error Messages

Disk Full Error Meassage

This maybe an error with the Windows/Installer folder, article here Installer Folder

XP Pro Crashed

Had a problem with my XP Pro machine while playing Quake 3, it would crash and go to a Blue Screen with wierd symbols on it. Figured it out, I have an Antec Power Supply 400 watt, with 2 fans, one of the fans stopped running, it was the bottom, large fan. Apparently running Quake heated up the power supply enough to create the error. I had also added a 2nd hard drive and 2 - 19 inch LCD monitors. I installed a new Antec 430 watt power supply with True Power, runs like a charm now : )

Check Connections

If your having problems, first check to make sure all those cables connected to your Computer and your peripherals( printer, scanner,etc ) are plugged in and screwed on tight and all the power cords are plugged in right. The computer needs to be OFF when you do this.

Check your Computers Date/Time

I received all kinds of errors, illegal and blue screens, the problem was that my Computers Date and Time had been changed, don't ask me how, as soon as I set it correctly whala, no problems. Having the correct date and time is really critical for some of the software, so if your having problems, check to make sure it is set to the correct date and time. Here is a link to a picture of Windows Date/Time Properties Screen. Go to Start-Settings-Control Panel-Date/Time Properties.

Power Management, turn it off

This is for Laptop Computers to save battery life. There are several ways to turn this off, you can turn it off in the Bios, msconfig uncheck LoadPowerProfile, there are two entries or you can go to the Power Management Utility and set it to never turn off the monitor or harddrive, go to this screen shot to see a picture of it. Go to Start-Settings-Control Panel-Power Management Properties. If on, it could all of sudden turn off your monitor or shut down your computer.

Illegal Operations

When you get the little Gray box that say's something like ---This Program has performed an illegal operation save work, program will be shut down. This one is just Windows protecting your Computer, some software programs were not getting along, so Windows shuts down the last one opened. If you, just close the last program or reboot your Computer, which will clear your RAM ( random access memory) that will generally solve the problem.

Blue Screens

The Blue Screen of Death, with the message like-- A fatal exception has occurred at----- this is more then likely a Hardware, Driver or a Software conflict. Usually, just rebooting your Computer will solve the problem. I was getting Blue Screens on shut down on all three Computers. It was the drivers for my Video Cards, after reinstalling them and updating to DirectX 9.0c they went away. I also received another one, that was a Win32 Error and I kept getting it more and more, I finally figured out that the new CPU Chip I had install was creating the error. As soon as I replaced it with the old one, the Blue Screens went away. I had even went as far as Reformatting and reinstalling Windows on both Hard drives and I still had the error, which told me it was not the software creating the error, it had to be the hardware. To get info on an Error, go to Microsoft's Knowledge Base, it probably will not give you info on the exact error message but you can generally get some idea of where to look. Write down the type of error like VXD Error and then search for that error. If you get a Blue Screen right after you install software, look for a patch at the Companies Web Site, if that doesn't help, uninstall it. The same with a new piece of Hardware, look for an updated driver, if that doesn't help, possibly the hardware is defective or not compatible with your system. Also check the Web Sites Faqs, to see if others had a problem like yours and what fixes were suggested. Some Blue Screens on shut down are from running your Virus program in the background, actually I only run the Email Scan and Manually run a system scan once a month or more if I think I need to. But, if I download something off a site, I scan it before I unzip it, play it or open it. Also, if I share a disk with someone I scan the Disk before I use it.

Microsoft's Knowledge Base

When you get an Error Message even after you Reboot, write it down and go Here and Here to check, Clear all fields and check to search the Knowledge base, type the error message in the search box ( like VXD Error ) and read all related topics to that Error, you then, may be able to troubleshoot it. It may tell you if it is related to a certain program, file, driver, etc.

Online Programs

I get error messages with certain programs,such as, when I go Online at, the Mic program that logs me on and off the site sometimes will not shut down( stays in RAM), my computer will not shut down, I get blue screens or get stuck on the Windows is shutting down screen, but if I reboot after I have been Online, using my reboot button on the Computer or ctrl-alt-delete, it goes away, you clear it from your RAM. With Visual Page I get Illegal Operation boxes, I think it is because I open and close screens to fast, when I go slower, I do not get them. So as you see, most are not bad, just annoying, but I would rather have Windows be over protective then under protective.


Regular Maintenance of your File System and Uninstalling and Installing Software properly will keep the Errors to a minimum. Use the Add/Remove program in your control panel to remove programs (this is a picture of the Add/Remove screen.) Running a program such as Norton Utilities WinDoctor or RegCleaner after removing a program, will help to find and give you the option to remove anything the Uninstall utility left behind in the Registry. A lot of these are left in the registry and are still linked to a program that is no longer on your Computer. You or I would not be able to find these problems, being that they are in the registry.

System File Checker

Also run System File Checker regularly, Start--Programs--Accessories--System Tools--System Information--Tools--System File Checker(link to a picture of it). Windows Scans itself and repairs corrupted files, it will ask you for the Windows Disk or your restore disk to restore from.

Device Manager

Also check the Device Manager start-settings-control panel-system-Device Manager Tab ( Link to a Picture of it ) to troubleshoot any problems you may be having with your hardware. Sometimes Windows for some odd reason will duplicate things in the Device Manager, like two of the same CD-Roms or two mice, if it shows doubles ( identical ) check the properties of each one and delete the one that has problems or no resources. You may have to delete both of them and have Windows refind it on a reboot. I have had it double and Triple almost everything, which created, Problems, but after I deleted the extra ones everything went back to normal.

Scan Disk

You may also want to run Scan Disk--Start-Programs-Accessories-System Tools-Scan Disk (link to picture of it). You should really run this once a month, check the fix Errors Automatically box.

Disk Defragmentor

If you install and Uninstall programs frequently, after running Scan Disk run Disk Defragmentor (link to picture of it)--same place as Scan Disk, this will reorganize your files, instead of them being scattered all over the disk, they will be place at the beginning of the disk. That way, the hard drive is not looking all over the disk to find what it needs. Like my desk, I have papers laying all over the place, OK I know that file is some where, maybe under here or under this. Disk Defragmentor will come along and put all the files back where they belong, so all I have to do, is go to the file cabinet and whala there it is in file cabinet.

Defragmenting Problems

When you run Windows Defragmentor or any Defragmentor, go to Ctlr-Alt-Delete and End the Tasks on everything , except SysTray and Explorer. Defragmentor will take forever or just keep restarting when all those programs are running. Here is a picture of it.

Windows System Information

This can give you a lot of information about your Computer, go to Start-Programs-Accessories-System Tools-System Information ( link to a picture of it ), it can also be helpful tracking down conflicts with your software or hardware.

DSS Agent

Some Errors come from Startup Programs. One in particular that gave me problem's was DSS agent. Once I disabled it, the problem's went away. I disabled it in the msconfig startup(link to picture of it). Start-Run-type, msconfig, click the, Startup Tab, I then unchecked DSS agent. This was a registration program, in a folder called bbstore on my C drive.

DirectX Diagnostic Tool in 98 and XP ( Link to picture of it)

You find this by going to Start-Programs-Accessories-System Information-Tools-DirectX Diagnostic Tool. You should stay updated to the newest version of DirectX, which is 9.0c, a lot of your programs need DirectX to function properly. You will see the Version you have on the first screen of the Tool. Here is a Link to the latest version of DirectX, if you need it. DirectX 9.0c

Memory Test Failed 98

Error message when you first Bootup, try shutting down your Computer, unplug it from the wall plug for a couple minutes, plug it back in and restart it, this will clear some of the Memory Chips. Memory Test Fail, it is telling you that the Mother Board or memory on a Hardware Card has failed. Also try going into Safe Mode, hold down the F8 Key, just before the Windows Startup Screen and go into Safe Mode. Go into your Device Manager and check for any yellow exclamation marks on your Hardware Devices, if one has a problem, check it's Properties for conflicts or Remove it and have Windows Refind it and reinstall it, have your Drivers Disk if one came with the Hardware and the Windows CD handy, in case Windows asks for them.

Content Advisor Error when trying to open Internet Explorer IE 6

Go to Find-type in-ratings.pol-rename it to ratings.old Open IE go to the Content Advisor and open it ( do not type in a password or user name!!!)remove all the information in every section of it. Then close IE and reopen it, the error message should stop. Don't use it again, it messes up for some reason, even if you have the password it messes up.

Missing Operating System Error 98

Check this page for Information Microsoft Knowledge Base Missing OS, You can try copying the System files from the Windows Startup Disk to the C: Drive. Start the Computer with the Startup Disk, at the A: prompt type sys a: c: this will copy the system files from the A drive to the C drive. It can't Boot up because it can not find the boot files or they are corrupted.

Restoring the Registry 95 and 98

If for some reason your system has crashed bad, such as a Virus or a bad download. Windows makes 4 backups of your Registry, they are cab files, rb000-1-2-3. If your system crashed bad, Reboot, when the Computer first boots up and before the Windows Screen loads, press the F8 Key, you should get a black screen with 6 choices, choose 6. Safe Mode Command Prompt Only, at the prompt type : scanreg /restore ( there is a space between scanreg and the / )a screen will come up giving you the 4 cab files, the backups will be Dated, if you had not rebooted after the crash, pick the one with that days date, click once on the file, then click the restore button. If you tried to reboot after the crash pick a later dated file. Programs that were installed after that cab file was made, will no longer be valid, remove them and reinstall them. The cab file is a copy of Windows Registry, the brains of your Computer, each program that is installed, puts Keys in the Registry, that tells Windows what to do with their files. When you Restore an older Backup of the Registry you are removing those bad or good keys from the registry. Without those Keys programs cannot run.

System Restore XP and Vista go here for Windows 7 Restore

With these there is a restore feature, with XP and Vista it was a kind of last resort thing to do, sometimes it would work other times it would make matters worse. Windows would create restore points and you could use them to go back to a previous registry version, just like 98 only built in. In Windows 7 Restore and Backup have been merged and refined check out the link above.

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