How can I find out what my Windows error really means? ~ Ask The Admin

Saturday, June 21, 2008

How can I find out what my Windows error really means?

We get a lot of requests for deciphering Windows error messages.

Today we will show you how I find out what an error means that I have not seen before.

Yes that is correct I do not know EVERY single error code and source by heart.

I am so sorry if I let you down... It's just the way it is.

Lets say you had some sort of problem, like the error on your left pops up on your screen. Like a good Admin you wind up in your Event Viewer (Right click my computer - Manage and then Event Viewer).

You see some red X's that denote an Error. You decide to see what's up with your Service Control Manager error - Event ID 7023. A lot of our readers know this is a normal error (normal error?? Only in Windows!) created by disabling the Windows Firewall and can be ignored. But if you didn't you can click the hyperlink to see more (minimal) information about your issue.

Microsoft tells us:

The specified service stopped unexpectedly with the error
indicated in the message. The service closed safely.

User Action:
To troubleshoot the error:
Review the error information displayed in the message.

To display the WIN32_EXIT_CODE error that SCM encountered, at the command prompt, typesc query service nameThe information displayed can help you troubleshoot possible causes for the error.

This is all that Microsoft cares to share with you. Even though you sent your complete error message to them it only gives this generic response.

Hmm that link tells us nothing! Thanks a lot Microsoft!

So now you roll up your sleeve and go to hit up Google.

But Wait!

I can save you a step. Check out It is not free but can be used as a free tool. They want a few dollars from you a month for all of their Event ID goodness but AtA has been using this site before they charged for it and we will continue using it until they lock it down with a credit card.

(Edit: If it is worth the few buckeroos to you by all mean support them!)

Go to their site and enter your Event ID and Source. The real deal answer at the top and solution will be unavailable to you without subscription BUT you can search that page for comments and we see some one posted:

Service: Computer Browser - In a Windows XP SP2 environment, if you have disabled Windows Firewall/ICS service trough services manager this behavior is normal. Just enable this service and turn the firewall off from Control Panel -> Windows Firewall.

That is if you need the Computer Browser service at all.

Awesome there is the problem and solution! Right to the point! Why wouldn't Billy Gates have added this to MS's website? Now you know how to be self sufficent in your quest for answers to the cryptic error messages.... Anyone out there paying for this?

They are also a great free resource for finding out what a service or port is here.

Does anyone have a better (Free-er), quicker or easier solution?