The 13 Other Greatest Error Messages of All Time

...as nominated by several hundred nostalgic, long-suffering members of the Technologizer community.

By  |  Tuesday, October 7, 2008 at 4:29 am

People just love error messages. Love ‘em, love ‘em, love ‘em. At least that’s the conclusion I’m drawing right now: “The 13 Greatest Error Messages of All Time” is by far the most popular story in Technologizer’s short history. And hundreds of folks didn’t just read the article–they shared their own favorite errors in the comments, with at least as much passion as the community brings to burning subjects such as the iPhone NDA or the fate of Windows XP.

I thoroughly enjoyed delving into all that feedback and learning about errors which I’d never heard of…and in some cases, being reintroduced to ones which I’d managed to block out of my memory. If you don’t have time to burrow through nearly 400 comments’ worth of conversation like I did, I understand–and I’m here to help. Here are some truly outstanding error messages, selected from all the ones mentioned in comments by a blue-ribbon panel which consisted of…well, me. I focused on ones that were verifiably real, and mostly on ones mentioned by multiple contributors. And I ended up with a bakers’ dozen of them, just as in the first story.

I call this list The 13 Other Greatest Error Messages of All Time…and as with the first roundup, let’s do it as a countdown, shall we? 

13. Nonsense in BASIC (ZX Spectrum)
I am an American, and while that distinction carries any number of benefits and privileges, it does mean that I’ve been deprived of some truly inspired error messages over the years. Back in the 1980s, the UK’s wildly popular ZX Spectrum home computer sported a version of the BASIC programming language that responded to errors on the user’s part with a message that was snippy and even a little insulting: “Nonsense in BASIC.” If I had owned a Spectrum, I’d have done my best to avoid being chided by my computer that way. Which might have made me a better programmer, and therefore grateful that it minced no words.

12. Make: Don’t know how to make love. Stop. (Unix)
If you’re not a Unix nerd, this one almost isn’t worth your time. But it came up multiple times in comments, so it’s clearly beloved by some. It’s one of a number of nerdy Unix games that involves entering a Unix command with purposefully meaningless modifiers or other errors that cause Unix to respond with an unintentionally funny message. In this case, you enter “make love,” with make being a Unix command and love being a meaningless modifier. Unix responds with Make: Don’t know how to make love, which–oh, let’s just move on to errors that are easier to explain…

11, 10, and 9. WHAT?, HOW?, and SORRY (TRS-80 Level I BASIC)
I’ve encountered these messages many times myself, but had forgotten about them until commenter John brought them up. When Radio Shack’s TRS-80 personal computer debuted in 1977, it shipped only with a programming language known as Level I BASIC. It fit in 4KB of memory–.0039 of one megabyte, and one-third of the space used by the image of a TRS-80 on the right–which left little room for features and virtually no room for fripperies such as error messages. So it had only three of them, all of which consisted of one word (rendered in ALL CAPS–the original TRS-80 also didn’t pamper owners with luxuries such as lower-case letters). WHAT? meant that the TRS-80 didn’t understand you, perhaps because you’d made a typo. HOW? meant you were asking it to do something impossible, such as divide by zero. And SORRY usually meant that the computer had run out of memory…which happened all the time.

With only three errors to cover every possible problem, the TRS-80 was necessarily general rather than specific. But unlike many computers of the era, it didn’t spew errors laden with numbers or abbreviations. There’s a weird elegance in WHAT?, HOW?, and SORRY–and that’s not something you can say about many error messages.

8. You don’t exist. Go away. (Unix)
Computer geeks are known for their lack of social graces. Unix (and latter-day offspring such as Linux) are known for being loved by computer geeks. End result: Unix has more brusque, undiplomatic error messages than any other operating system. Such as You Don’t Exist. Go Away, an error which Unix systems sometimes fling at the user when there’s a password-related problem. It’s delightfully dismissive and demeaning–I’m saying this as someone who’s never gotten it, of course–and, like many great error messages, is gratuitously unhelpful. It’s also the only message here which makes me think of both an Eleanor Roosevelt quote (“No one can make you feel inferior without your permission”) and an Emily Dickenson poem (“I’m nobody! Who are you?”).

7. Silly (Acorn BBC Microcomputer)
Yup, another error message from a 1980s British machine! Silly wasn’t how the “Beeb” responded to any error on the user’s part that might reasonably be called silly. Instead, it reserved the message for instances in which the user attempted to renumber or auto-enter a BASIC program with line numbers that incremented by zero (which was impossible) or more than 255 (which was possible but excessive). Maybe I’m reading an empathetic tone into the message that isn’t really there, but I don’t see Silly as a potshot–it feels more like an amused appreciation of an intentionally comical act by the user. In other words, the BBC was laughing with its owner rather than at him or her. It’s a pity that more error messages aren’t so ingratiating.

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98 Comments For This Post

  1. STS Says:

    You forgot

    ?Redo from start

    The great commodore 64 and 128 basic error message when things didnt compute

  2. scot Says:

    For people in Britain or who get British television shows, there’s a relatively recent “error” message taken from the comedy sketch show Little Britain — “Computer says no.” … although it’s originally a user reporting this state (an annoyingly unhelpful bank teller ‘Carol Beer’ informing the customer the computer system refuses to allow the customer’s request, and ending by coughing in the customer’s face), in recent years it’s become a way of reporting computing mishaps and errors. Including an error I once wrote, ‘ComputerSaysNoException’ (for testing purposes … but of course it never got backed out and made it to production).

  3. swingerman Says:

    What about that favorite from the Commodore Amiga?

    “Guru Meditation Error”

    which resulted from virtually ANY system-related crash.

  4. JM Says:

    Also, Windows 3.1′s message “Printer Error”. It was usually accurate, but never precise; if I recall correctly, it could mean that the network which joined the PC and the printer had failed, that the wrong paper tray had been selected, etc, etc. Oh, the remembered pain in tracking down the cause of such problems.

  5. VInceN Says:

    I remember back in the day when printing presses were this big firetraps, the operator output would record a Paper Jam as “Error: Printer on Fire”

    That got the techs but moving fast. It still can be seen in some UNIX based OS’s

  6. Jonathan Cronin Says:

    My all time favorite: “?Program lost, sorry”

    from the PDP-11 RSTS/E Basic interpreter when it couldn’t garbage collect enough memory to keep going. (Java is not the first byte-encoded language with GC.)

    Jonathan

  7. Sir_Cabbage Says:

    I like the error message in psychonauts PC.

    The worlds greatest game Psychonauts! has stopped working.

  8. LinksAwakener Says:

    Dudes: “Guru Meditation” and “lp0 (printer) on fire” have already been mentioned in the original Greatest Error Messages of All Time. FTW.

  9. Jari Says:

    Some error message while using XP went like this:

    “You should never see this error message”

  10. A. Mazing Says:

    I found another awesome error the other day when texting on my phone.

    “Message could not be sent: General Error”

  11. Steve R. Says:

    Anyone who’s used Microsoft Access extensively knows the “Invalid Argument.” error, which means that the 2GB limit of a database has been reached. Why they couldn’t say “Database too large,” or something to that effect, is beyond me! This is probably one of the most frustrating errors that I’ve encountered because– more than once– it’s cost me several hours of time trying to figure out what was wrong.

  12. nikki Says:

    computer says Noooooooooooooooo

  13. Vanilla Cokehead Says:

    My favorite error message of all time is from NNTP servers that denied access to a user: “You have no permission to talk. Goodbye”. :)

  14. umut Says:

    When the keyboard faulted while booting a PC, i used have fun with this error message from DOS:

    Keyboard not present
    Press a key to continue

    -i don’t see that message for years so syntax may not be fully correct but ya’ll know what i’m talking about…
    :D
    very confused pc

  15. Joe Says:

    It’s not an error message, but I think it’s still in the spirit of these. When installing Windows XP (I think), you have to reboot a few times. At one point, you get a message prior to reboot: “Press finish to continue starting Windows.” Are you going to finish, continue, or start? Just another example where the programmers didn’t put thought into the user experience, and sacrificed sensibility for quicker programming.

  16. Dan P Says:

    This is from a Motorola Canopy radio. It happens when you miskey the password (firmware version 7.3.6):

    Unauthorized (401)

    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. If I were a gambler, I would bet that a cat (an orange tabby named Sierra or Harley) somehow jumped onto your keyboard and forgot some of the more important pointers from those typing lessons you paid for. Based on the actual error encountered, I would guess that the feline in question simply forgot to place one or both paws on the appropriate home keys before starting. Then again, I suppose it could have been a keyboard error caused by some form of cosmic radiation; this would fit nicely with my interplanetary alien-being theory. If you think this might be the cause, perhaps you could create some sort of underground bunker to help shield yourself from it. I don’t know that it will work, but, you will probably feel better if you try something.

  17. shadyis Says:

    My favorite has to be from Linux. Linux programmers definitely have a twisted sense of humor LOL. It makes you think ‘well doh’ hehe.

    Error received while compiling a Linux kernel:

    “Kernel Panic. This really should never happen.”

  18. AL Says:

    When I worked at Calif. DOJ, we had a utility program that had a one-word message for any error – Wrong!

  19. JE Says:

    “Out of Memor”

  20. StephenB. Says:

    Some of my favourites from BeOS:

    “This user name and password aren’t getting me anywhere. This server (servername) wouldn’t so much as spit on me if I were on fire!”

    (alt. version: “Have you tried checking for post-it notes on your co-workers’ desks?”)

    “I can’t find the CIFS browsing server for this workgroup … Please check your CIFS network settings and/or complain to your system administrator.”

  21. Steven Fisher Says:

    The Mac “car crash” sound was used in some models between approximately 1993 and 2000. Earlier models used a beep, chord or musical instrument sound.

  22. Daniel Says:

    A linux related message thanks to great humor from us developers.

    Error: Program can be used as a weapon of mass destruction therefore only root may run it

  23. Alan W. Rateliff, II Says:

    The TI-99 series of computers, the 99/4A was my particular experience, had the TI BASIC error

    * CAN’T DO THAT

    and

    * CAN’T DO THAT IN [linenumber]

    It always reminded me of HAL.

    Then there’s always our beloved Amiga’s “Guru Meditation,” which has been resurrected in Sun’s VirtualBox.

  24. Hank Roberts Says:

    “Fatal Error F-27 Disk Full”

    The early WordStar (on a floppy disk CP/M machine) telling you that you’d typed one more character than the disk would hold, and everything was lost for good.

  25. Frank Says:

    It always hurts my feelings when an error message advises me to contact my administrator, even though I’m working on my home network. It knows what the problem is but thinks I’m too simple to understand.

  26. B Says:

    i got an error on windows once that said: “error there was no error”.

  27. RBL Says:

    I maintain a personal archive of screwy error messages I have received over the decades here:
    ftp://www.rblevin.net/errors/

  28. PresseMuHAssauck Says:

    sbwhxjbbydgbjuinwell, hi admin adn people nice forum indeed. how’s life? hope it’s introduce branch ;)

  29. Walt Says:

    Thanks for the trip down memory lane!

    One of the first computer error messages I personally encountered was in the mid 1970s on a DEC-10 running BASIC. The error message was,

    ERROR – TYPE HELP FOR HELP

    and when the user dutifully typed “HELP”….

    SORRY, I CAN’T HELP YOU

    At least it apologized!

  30. Ronald wentz jr Says:

    Great history .. its still hard to find a good mouse with a thumb button ..for gaming ofcourse…

  31. Kahless_GOA Says:

    I once had an Hard Disc MP3-player from Rio which was called Karma. One day the Hard Disc made funny noises, and it didn’t boot completely up. So I bootet it in Work Mode, which was intended for firmware updates, and it showed me the error message: Bad Karma.

    I could have killed it…

  32. 3dzd3 Says:

    Any of the myriad of errors translated from Japanese to English in Windows.

    i.e. The fish cannot reach the river.

  33. Josh M Says:

    My MSI KT6V motherboard has been known (on occasion) to give me the error message “The BIOS does not be installed.” This happens when I have my boot settings incorrect in just the right places. Seems reminiscent of AYB if you ask me…

  34. VCCGeek Says:

    My favourite is one I still encounter to this day, in Windows Server logs.

    “Windows NT has encountered the following error: Operation completed successfully.”

    It’s WORKING?!? Definitely an error somewhere . . . :)

  35. ant Says:

    I remember this from Win98:

    “Cannot delete file. Not enough disk space.”

  36. Pko Says:

    You forgot one famous Windows 3.1 error: “General Failure Reading Disk C:”. Who is that General Failure and why is he reading my disk????

  37. catman Says:

    Error in drive z; please reboot universe (discworld 2 [pc game])

  38. omynous Says:

    My favourite was in BSD 4.2 in one of their tty drivers:

    ‘Help me, help me, help me! I am being beat over the head by an old man with a stick!’

    The source code did say ‘You should never get here’ in a comment.

    Try as I might, I never did figure out a way to provoke the error. But the error stuck with me all these years.

  39. Wolfeman Says:

    ok, time to stop using the word: “zeitgeist “… make use of a thesaurus please.

  40. Bassmint Stile Says:

    Not so much an error message, but still gives me chills when it happens. When you insert a game into the original nintendo, press down, turn on the system, and get the flashing screen. then you try and try again with no advail.

  41. Doug Curry Says:

    What? No General Protection Faults?

  42. laszlok Says:

    Type “net helpmsg 4006″ at the command prompt of any Windows box. Here’s what you get:

    “Replication with a nonconfigured partner is not allowed.”

    I don’t know how to provoke error 4006, but the message is really funny… and it’s even fairly recent!

  43. Doug Says:

    Along with “PC LOAD LETTER” came the just-as-eloquent “ME FEED COM 10″ when LaserJet printers were looking for an envelope.

  44. David James Says:

    I guess the earliest universal computer error we all encountered, and long before we had computers we touched on a daily basis:

    “boo dee DEE — The number you have dialed — five, five, five, one, two, one, two — is not in service. Please check the number and try your call again.”

    In earlier days, this message ended with:
    “If you need further assistance, please ask your operator. This is a recording.” This part was back when operators were actually available as easily as a single key press (“0″), and people were so unaccustomed to hearing prerecorded voices that they might attempt to engage in a conversation with it.

    There is a strong possibility that this may be the most commonly encountered error message ever (so far), with one exception:

    The busy signal. Universally known, but slightly different sounding from country to country. The busy signal was useful shorthand for “you can’t call that number because the phone is off the hook.” Which was fortunate, because why call someone, if they are already talking to someone else? It made perfect sense in the days before voice mail.

    I believe this qualifies as an error message, because it indicated that the request was abandoned, and the device needed to be re-booted before another attempt was made.

  45. Mike Rider Says:

    With Taiwanese english, the “no keyboard found” error becomes:

    Keyboard doesn’t found. Press to continue.

  46. Mike Rider Says:

    (Corrected)

    With Taiwanese english, the “no keyboard found” error becomes:

    Keyboard doesn’t found. Press F1 to continue.

  47. Jesse P-S Says:

    I just laughed out loud (literally) at the fact that when I clicked the video for the HAL clip I got the youtube equivalent of an error message:

    “This video has been removed by the user.”

  48. AmigaUser Says:

    The Guru Meditation error (mentioned in the other article) wasn’t the only weird error message on the Amiga. The Guru Meditation itself (called an “Alert” in AmigaOS) was perceived as jarring by many users (especially the version that pushed down the desktop screen to display the message), so Commodore changed it in later versions of the OS to be more user-friendly. The “Guru Meditation” text was omitted, and there were amber (non-critical) and red (critical) versions. Many people also don’t know that the Alert was a standard function of the EXEC kernel, and so many programmers used it for serious (or sometimes, not so serious) error messages.

    But more scary than the Alert was the error dialog displayed on the desktop when a task encountered a less critical exception: “Software error, task held. Finish ALL disk activity. Select Cancel to Reset/Debug” (can’t remember the exact wording, but I think it was very similar). Then, when you actually clicked on Cancel, the screen was usually moved down to display an Alert (amber or red), often followed by another, more serious (red) Alert after the next reboot.

    Another thing was the built-in debugger in the AmigaOS 1.x versions: If you had a text terminal attached to the Amiga (which was often useful for debugging multithreaded apps or drivers), the Amiga would enter debugging mode when either DEL was pressed on the keyboard during a reboot sequence, or when the user pressed the right mouse button during an Alert. System APIs made it possible to write custom debuggers for the development phase for displaying internal data for a program. In later versions of AmigaOS, you had to attach another Amiga with a specialized program to use the ROM debugger (now called SAD), which made the entire feature fairly useless.

  49. ilwrath Says:

    Though much more silly and harmless, the Amiga had another great baffler that I remember.

    Format a disk with default settings and then copy or save too much data to it, and you are presented with a requester proudly proclaiming
    “Volume Empty is full!”

    It was always a treat to ponder the Taoist implications of this message while scavenging for another disk. :D

  50. Richard G. Combs Says:

    Once when I was trying to resolve a problem with a printer named gilligan, a Security popup in WinXP informed me that “You do not have permission to view the current permission settings for gilligan on selfserve, but you can make permission changes.”

    I sent a screen shot to the IT people, who were quite amused. They fixed it, but I never did figure out how to change permissions that I couldn’t see.

  51. D Says:

    While running an accounting package from an independent vendor:

    “Unable to calculate tax rate from file. Update resume, give notice” – with an OK button as the only choice.

  52. Mark O'Neill Says:

    Good point about the errors being mostly old ones. I think there’s a certain personal link between the programmer and user that’s now all but lost in modern computing. It’s a shame that the goal of software developers nowadays seems to be to fool people into thinking they’re using a magic box rather than a computer. However, I think charming errors will always remain in free software because there’s no onus on the developer not to scare the users. On a related note, there are some quite funny comments left in the Linux kernel code. Linus likes to keep them in, it seems

  53. Warg Says:

    I can’t remember which program it was, but it gave me an error message that just said: “error” and that than gave me three options: Yes, No or Abort. I just couldn’t figure out the right answer, on the other hand, none of them actualy helped.

  54. Steve Euden Says:

    What about the Amstrad CPC “Read Error B”? IIrc you could have “Read Error A” too, maybe there was others but I never came across them.

  55. northernheckler Says:

    On the old BBC Micro, using the Acorn View wordprocessor. If you typed the word “Wheelchair” in the command screen, the error message came back : “Invalid Command”

  56. Mike Cocke Says:

    A combination of an error message and bit of useless trivia: The last error code in the ROM of the original PC was ‘cannot divide by 0′, and any error situation that didn’t have a specific message got that error message as a sort of ‘well, we tried’. That could lead to some confusion when you were trying to print to an offline printer, for example.

  57. BruceM Says:

    The old Hewlett Packard HP3000 minicomputers were booted up from the disc drive known as LDEV 1. When LDEV 1 was not online during the bootup, the console would beep and the following message would print

    LDEV1 not ready, Put drive online right now!!

    I always imagined somewhere deep in the innards of the machine some operating system troll was tapping his foot and getting angry.

  58. SputnikHats9000 Says:

    Symantec’s backup exec once produced an error dialog that had the title “Catastrophic Failure” and just a button with “OK” on it…

  59. pWEN Says:

    Does no one remember the Illegal Operation error? Most hateful error ever, in my opinion, as it immediately led to the loss of everything you were working on!

  60. Snagglery Says:

    From an old King’s Quest game (don’t remember which one), I used to constantly get the error:

    “Out of heap space”

    Always happened at the same spot, near the end of the game. Of course, users had (and still have) no idea what “heap space” is, nor should they. The message, like so many, seemed to have been designed for the programmer.

  61. 'lUomino Says:

    The PDP-11 (a DEC minicomputer) had a the TECO editor, which would occasionally intone:

    ?Cannot happened has happened

    Although not an error message, the IBM System 360 Principles of Operation manual states: “If an undetectable error occurs, the processor continues as if no error had occurred.”

  62. Sue D Nimh Says:

    One of the Mac OS system 6 or 7 programs would change the mouse cursor from an arrow to the face with hands on either side from Edward Munch’s painting “The Scream” when it was running out of memory (at least that seemed to be the cause) just before the bomb icon box came up. Good at least for provoking a laugh while your unsaved work vanished! Still my favorite, although I always liked the ability to add an error handling package to Perl called Coy that converted the Perl errors to haiku.

  63. Anomaly Says:

    Funny error I saw once. On a printer, it said “Head cold”. It was a thermal printer stationed outside on a loading dock, which wouldn’t work when the printer head dropped below a certain temperature. At that time, it would start to display “Head cold” and redirect its jobs. Now why can’t I redirect my jobs when I get a head cold?

  64. pete Says:

    My favorite error message:

    Program Wedged.

  65. RC Says:

    The funniest error message was ona SVR4 UNIX system.
    When using the “AT” command, if you typed in: at now
    the message returned was: too late

  66. Tim Says:

    When I was playing with the Visual Studio 2010 beta, shortly before the installation completed, I got a rather amusing error message (which resulted in the installation NOT completing successfully):

    The operation has completed successfully.
    Please tell Microsoft about this problem.

  67. Ogal Communications Says:

    I get an error when trying to look at the 2001 ASO clip:

    "The video has been removed by the user"

    This is a meta error? I think it's fantastic that this happened and think you should leave it like that and repost a new clip underneath… :)

  68. David Alexander McDonald Says:

    I like ConvertX2DVD's error message — a rather exotic-sounding woman saying, with some disinterest, "Damn. We've got a problem."

  69. raymond Says:

    it seems more likely that when encountering the no keyboard error, the computer is simply outputting an error message followed by 'press f1 to continue'. This message predates USB, you can't plug in and use a ps/2 keyboard after booting, so attaching and pressing f1 wouldnt work.

  70. Chuck Moore Says:

    Not an operating system error message, but 1 message that I will never forget….always showed up after countless hours working on animations on the SGI using the program Wavefront…..everything working fine, and then……

    "BUS ERROR…..GOODBYE."

    and the computer would drop to the command prompt…

  71. gamayun Says:

    A friend who worked for the help desk back when I was in college once hacked the network to randomly display "ugly user error message" instead of the usual Windows gobbledegook when our network failed. Which it did, often.

  72. Finn Says:

    Heh, you can't forget 'This program has performed an illegal operation and will be shut down.' I saw that one CONSTANTLY on Win 95/98. And Mac OS X used to have 'we're hanging here' in old kernel panic messages, before they added the 'you need to restart your computer' overlay.

  73. sittininlab Says:

    Just got one from a Brother all-in-one printer:

    “Toner Life End”

    Our extrapolation:

    No be sad. Toner Happy. Toner enjoyed life. Toner make copies. Many Copies. Toner be recycled.

  74. dpocius Says:

    For a long time I used a clip from 2001 as my Windows shutdown audio: "Just what are you trying to do, Dave?". Made me wish my name was Dave.

  75. Harvey Says:

    I am surprised that I haven’t yet seen

    “This program has performed an illegal operation and will be shut down.”

    I have heard anecdotally that several new computer users who saw this walked out the door of their jobs, scared, and never came back.

  76. phonecard Says:

    It always hurts my feelings when an error message advises me to contact my administrator, even though I'm working on my home network. It knows what the problem is but thinks I'm too simple to understand.

  77. chesnmis Says:

    I don't know if it wasn't mentioned before, but among hopelessly undescribing errors, I think this one is a classic:
    "Error! Please remove write protection!", which happens on all Windows as far as I can remember everytime someone forgets, that you can't have a single file bigger than 2 GB in FAT32 filesystem. With so much FAT32 pre-formatted USB devices and ever-growing .iso software installation images, it seems gaining on popularity… and annoyance.

  78. gyffes Says:

    Press any key to continue.

  79. Jsparco Says:

    Thanks for sharing! These error messages have been giving me a headache! The update did great work, Thanks again! Football Uniforms

  80. Bernie Says:

    system abend

  81. John Baxter Says:

    They have no place in this article, but I enjoyed several of the error messages produced by one of the C compilers that Apple shipped (over time) with their MPW development system, The only one I remember at the moment is

    A typedef was a complete surprise to me at this point in your program.

  82. svella Says:

    Data General AOS & AOS/VS operating systems CLI would respond to the command "xyzzy", with "Nothing happens." in a tribute to the text based adventure games popular at the time it was created.

  83. Mike Blazer Says:

    Our late 70's F-15 test station had that one and "Unable to Satisfy". It was possible to get both: "Unable to satisfy, redo from start"

  84. Mark Says:

    My favorite is SAP R/1 penchant for spouting German randomly. Whenever the software update is run a window comes up starting with:

    Actung!

    It definitely has an attitude!

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  87. template website Says:

    I remember back in the day when printing presses were this big firetraps, the operator output would record a Paper Jam as "Error: Printer on Fire"

    That got the techs but moving fast. It still can be seen in some UNIX based OS's

  88. Igor Says:

    What about the Windows classic "General failure reading drive C:" – and the corresponding joke about the message (I added the different variants in parenthesis):

    "Who (the f***) is (this) 'General Failure' – and why is he (/the military) reading my drive?"

  89. pellet mills Says:

    . Always carry business cards. I even carry them when I go out on my bike and have given them away to another biker.

  90. Bill Spiropoulos Says:

    I would nominate the classic MacOS "Bomb", but I ran into those so often (because, of course, we designers have for decades insisted, against all sanity, on sticking with the Mac, even through the cruddy pre-OSX era) that those memories mostly inspire annoyance and anger rather than nostalgia.

    So here's my vote, taken from my childhood in the mid '80s:

    ?IO ERROR (and variations thereof)

    Picture the following: It's 3am. You're 10 or 11 years old. You have your Radio Shack/Tandy TRS-80 Color Computer 2 plugged into an ancient Zenith black and white TV through an RF switcher saved from a similarly ancient Coleco Pong clone. There is a TRS-80 "Data Cassette Drive" or somesuch named, thinly disguised plain-old audio cassette recorder with a cheap, 99-cent tape in it, storing several of your Extended Color Basic masterpieces (like a program that plays a reworded "When The Saints Go Marching In" or a concentric-circles graphic that looks like a 78 rpm record that took you hours to get just right). A

    lt is dark and silent in the world save for the slithering of the tape as you type CLOAD "DECCA78". You think about the mysterious electronic shrieking on the tape which holds the data, set against the tape's unreduced noise like a signal from a faraway shortwave station. The random wow and flutter give the sound of the data stream a creepy half-human quality.

    Somewhere in the middle as you watch the prompt cycle patiently through program after program, the terse, impersonal message you've been dreading appears in the blue-gray glow of the TV like a phantom:

    ?IO ERROR

    No explanations, no words of encouragement or advice on how to proceed, just a brisk announcement that your program has lost a battle with the background noise and other defects of a dollar-store storage medium. The tape continues rolling along blindly, like a car with its driver suddenly removed. A ?SN ERROR at least implied that you could go in and fix the damn thing. This, however, was death. You could feel it in the chill under the thermals you used for pajamas.

  91. James W Says:

    We need an error message that says, "Spend countless hours trying to fix this problem." or "Error! Only five slots available, please wait for assistance."

  92. jibran Says:

    It has been seen for a couple of years that liver disease is spreading a lot.I think the main thing is the level of fats increases inside the body which will effect the lever. العاب تلبيس

  93. Alan Says:

    I once received the hope-devouring error message, "THAT KEYSTROKE HAS NO MEANING HERE".

  94. Michael Incavo Says:

    My favorite was one that I got trying to uninstall a service pack from the safe mode command line in Win7: "Catastrophic Failure." Doesn't get much more embarrassing than that.

  95. guest Says:

    "contact your administrator" to which the reply is "…but i am the administrator…."

  96. dvdkon Says:

    What about “username is not in the sudoers file. This incident will be reported.” That one’s even got a XKCD comic: http://xkcd.com/838/

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  98. OldCOBOLer Says:

    I know I’m years late to comment, but my personal favorite will always be the old DEC-10 message: ILLMEMREF.

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