10 Great Error Messages

A good computing day is an error-free day. Unfortunately, those are rarer than we would like. Have you seen any of these funny and original error messages lately?

Keep Reading! You Are Not in Error

From the alphanumerically incomprehensible to the anger-abatingly astonishing, error messages have long been the computer’s way of telling us we’ll never truly understand it. Circular logic, tiny type, and an occasional flash of unexpected humor make error messages the Zeno's paradoxes of our time--and any PC's user all-too-frequent companion.

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Error: No Error

Let’s start with a classic: the error message that isn’t. If only all error messages could be this harmlessly elliptical.

No Space to Delete

This is one of many computer error messages that illustrate the clash between human logic and computer logic. While the need to delete before you can delete because there's not enough room to delete makes perfect sense to Windows, it’s mind-bending for the average user.

The Recursive Error

When your computer's attempt to describe an error generates a new error, you know that something has gone very wrong with the system.

The REALLY Recursive Error

When those errors keep causing errors, it’s as though the computer has switched you over to a video game. The challenge: Can you press Enter fast enough to make your PC usable again? (Hint: You can’t.)

Video Game Errors

Windows-based PCs aren't the only machines that occasionally present users with error messages demanding action that exceeds our puny mortal powers. Game consoles can be just as confounding.

Google Chrome Error Page

If nothing else, error messages have become more empathetic in recent years. Chrome’s Web page display error, with its note of disappointed commiseration, is fast becoming my new Blue Screen of Death.

Google Reader Error

In general, Google tends to have amusing error messages. This classic Google Reader error is short, sweet, to the point--and copyrighted!

404 (Page Not Found) Errors

One of the most common error messages of the Web-centric era is the 404 error. Plenty of sites have original takes on the classic "Page Not Found" announcement, as in this example from game seller Dawdle.

Grooveshark’s Downtime Message

Sometimes a cute image alone isn't enough. Here, music-streaming service Grooveshark is kind enough to provide a lengthy explanation for its downtime that involves some Chinese investors and a hungry panda named Pickles.

The Tumbl Tumbeasts

After a rash of downtime toward the end of last year, Webcomic The Oatmeal suggested that Tumblr adopt its own equivalent of Twitter’s Fail Whale. The best part? Tumblr now uses it.

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