IE: See Server Error Messages Instead of the Friendly Generic Ones

Posted June 19, 2005 by MickeyMouse in Windows

When an error occurs in IE, you have two ways to view the error. You can either see the error message the server sends you, or you can see Microsoft’s generic error message. Here is how to change between the two.


By default, Internet Explorer recognizes typical HTTP errors and displays a “friendly” generic error message regarding this error. This error reporting is supposedly more user friendly and less confusing. However, it actually hides the error message coming from the server. This information from the server can be useful in trying to determine what caused the actual error.

This is the text from a “friendly” error message. Note the lack of useful information regarding the reasons for the error.

The page cannot be displayed
There is a problem with the page you are trying to reach and it cannot be displayed.

------------------------------------------------------------------

Please try the following:

Open the home page, and then look for links to the information you want.
Click the Refresh button, or try again later.

Click Search to look for information on the Internet.
You can also see a list of related sites.
HTTP 500 - Internal server error
Internet Explorer

If you want to see the real HTTP error code, just disable these generic error messages.

Use the following steps:

    1. Open IE.
    2. Click the Tools Menu.
    3. Click Internet Options.
    4. Click the Advanced tab.
    5. Uncheck Show Friendly HTTP Error Messages.
    6. Click OK.

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