Error codes are numbers (or letter and number combinations) that are associated with error messages and are used to identify specific problems in Windows and other programs.

Picture of an error code
Windows Update error code

If the error message does not provide all of the information you need, use the following resources to learn more:

  • Search for the error code online, starting with the Windows website.

  • Search for the error code online in the Events and Errors Message Center on the Microsoft website.

  • Search for the error code in online Windows newsgroups, communities, and other websites. From the results, you might be able to determine if anyone else is also experiencing this problem and find troubleshooting steps. If you get too many results, you can add other keywords to your search, such as the program name that produced the error message.

  • Search your computer event logs for information. Here's how:

    To view error event logs for applications

    You must be logged on as an administrator to perform these steps.

    1. Open Event Viewer by clicking the Start button Picture of the Start button, clicking Control Panel, clicking System and Security, clicking Administrative Tools, and then double-clicking Event Viewer. Administrator permission required If you're prompted for an administrator password or confirmation, type the password or provide confirmation.

    2. In the left pane, double-click Applications and Services Logs, browse to the specific program that had an error, and then review any error events for that program.

    3. Double-click an event to view a description and to find links to more information.