How can I find out what an error message means?

Unfortunately many programs give unhelpful error messages. Here are some strategies to help find out what they mean, with the best one last.

  • browse the index of the manual (definitely best if there is a manual)
  • search in the program’s online help
  • browse in the program’s online help index
  • search in Google (or any other search engine) for the error message in quotes, or using key words from the error.