How To Decipher a Bizarre Error Message

The key to tracking down a fix is to remember that you are unlikely to be the first person to have ever encountered this problem, but it is probably rare enough that standard help files and Microsoft support won't be of use.

  1. Assuming that the error has not crashed your system, write down the exact text of the error message. If the error has rendered your machine unusable, move to another PC so that you can keep the error on screen.
  2. Turn to the masses and search the Web for the exact text of the error message, in quotes. For example, type in "Error loading cmicnfg.cpl. The specified module could not be found."
  3. Click through the results for advice.

In our example, just a couple minutes of research will provide the likely culprit--a bad audio driver--as well as a credible solution that involves deleting some files and making a few Registry edits.

Other common problems with Windows PCs can also be solved with 5-minute fixes.

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