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Configuring Your Browser to See Proper Error Messages Back To List
Last Review:   Review Date:2015.07.10

When errors occur in the JScript program running on Bivouac, you are supposed to see the actual JScript error. But some browsers like Internet Explorer instead try to hide these JScript errors, and instead report a "friendly" message such as "Page cannot be displayed". These friendly messages are useless to you in trying to figure out the problem.

For example, a typical underlying error message that Microsoft hides is shown below:


  "Microsoft Jet Database Engine Error: The field is too small
  to accept the amount of data you attempted to add.
  Try inserting less data."
  Mtn.asp line 127
Instead, they simply tell you the page can't be displayed.

I constructed a deliberately broken page so you can test if you are getting proper error messages. To test the difference between the two error display modes, click the link below, once with "Friendly Messages" turned on, and once with it turned off. When you click on the following page, you should see a message that says there is an error. The message will look something like:


 Microsoft JScript compilation error '800a03ec'
 Expected ';'
 /TestErrorDisplay.asp, line 6
 This is an error
 -----^

Now test your browser to see if you get the above message:error test page. If not, keep reading.

As of 2015, fortunately most browsers seem to show proper error messages by default. However, you can search in Google for your particular browser if you don't think you are getting the full error message. For example, search Google for "Turning off friendly HTTP error messages" in Firefox"

Below are my notes on a few browsers that I have tested:

  1. Windows XP - Internet Explorer 8
     When errors occur in the program, Internet Explorer hides it and instead displays a useless message "This Page Cannot Be Displayed". However, you can quickly change the default configuration so that you can see the underlying error message:

      Tools > Internet Options > Advanced
    The option you want to change is called "Show Friendly HTTP Error Messages". Uncheck the box so you see the underlying error message. The option is under a subheading called "browsing".

      [ ] Show Friendly HTTP error messages
    Now test it by clicking on the deliberately broken link error test page. You should see it reporting an error in line 3 of this page.

    Netscape does not need this adjustment, by default it shows you the actual error message.

  2. Windows XP - Firefox
     As of 2015, my Firefox browser seemed to be displaying full messages by default, but when I looked it up in Google, I found additional instructions:
     - start up Firefox
     - in the address bar, type "about:config"
     - In the search filter, type "error" and press enter
     - Set the value of "browser.xul.error_pages.enabled" to "true"
     - restart firefox

  3. Macbook Pro - Safari
     Works with default settings.

  4. Macbook Pro - Chrome
     Works with default settings.

  5. Samsung Galaxy S4 - Android - Chrome
     Works with default settings, but you must expand the error message to read it.

2014.12.18 Works same way in IE Version 11 (on 2012 server)