Solaris Common Messages and Troubleshooting Guide

Chapter 1 About Error Messages

This book explains some of the more common error messages in the Solaris operating environment. Most messages explained here come from the operating system and the window system, but some come from commands, networking, and system administration (the man pages section 1: User Commands and man pages section 1M: System Administration Commands).

Searching for Messages

Choosing What to Look For

How you choose to look up a particular message depends on:

Variable Words and Numbers

Remember as you are searching that some words and numbers in messages vary when the messages are displayed. For example, the following message uses the name of the server affected, b5server in this case:

NFS read failed for server b5server

When message words or numbers vary, this book uses the words variable and number in the italics type face. So the previous message is listed in this book as:

NFS read failed for server variable

Variable words and numbers can appear anywhere in a message, even at the beginning. Because of this, messages are alphabetized by the first nonreplaced word or number in the message.

Frequently Duplicated Parts of Messages

Many messages you see are actually combined messages, often beginning with a program name. The five error messages in the following example are basically the same, even though the command names are different.

Rather than document this message at least five times, it appears in this book as the message "out of memory." Messages that contain colons (:) are often combined messages, and you might find that explanations of message sections are available separately.

If you don't find the beginning of a message in the book, and the message contains colons, search for other parts of the message.

In the Printed Book

Methods for finding a particular message vary depending on whether you are looking at a printed book or are searching online with the AnswerBook Navigator.

To find a message in the printed book, you can search the table of contents (which is an alphabetical listing of the messages) or the main body of the manual, as shown in Chapter 2, Alphabetical Message Listing.

In the AnswerBook Navigator

While print search methods work in AnswerBook, too, you can search for messages through the search utility in the AnswerBook Navigator much faster.

  1. Bring up AnswerBook.

    $ answerbook

  2. Click Select on the Search button.

  3. Enter the words or pattern to search for in the "Search Library For:" pane.

  4. Double-click Select on an entry in the resulting list. Although any of the entries might contain the information you are looking for, those from this book are most likely to be what you want.

If your first search does not find the message, consider altering the search pattern. Remember that this book contains only a small percentage of possible messages.

In general, you are most likely to find a documented message in the AnswerBook search pane when you enclose the searched-for words in quotation marks ("") or in parentheses ( ).

Using Pattern Matching

You can search in the AnswerBook Navigator for text containing specific single words, phrases that contain spaces, words near one another, and word variations.

See "Using the AnswerBook Software" in OpenWindows User's Guide for more detailed information about the AnswerBook search.

Table 1-1 AnswerBook Search Pattern Matching

To search for 

Such as 


Single words 

Installing, le0, group 

The words 

Phrases with spaces 

Installing Packages 

Quotation marks ("") around the phrase 

Words near one another 


Parentheses ( ( ) ) 

Word variations 

Delete, deleting, deletion 

Asterisks (*) and hyphens (-) 

Table 1-2 shows some of the possible matches for specific AnswerBook Navigator searches.

Table 1-2 AnswerBook Search Results

Searching With 

Finds These (for Example) 


Installing XIL Device Handlers (XIL Device Porting and Extensibility Guide) 

Installing Packages on a Server for... (Application Packaging Developer's Guide) 

"Installing Packages" 

Installing Packages on a Server for... (Application Packaging Developer's Guide) 

Installing Packages for Clients on a Server (Software and AnswerBook Packages...) 

(Installing Server) 

Installing Packages on a Server for... (Application Packaging Developer's Guide) 

Creating an Install Server (SPARC Installing Solaris Software) 


Delete All Silence (Solaris Advanced User's Guide) 

Deleting a Line (Solaris Advanced User's Guide) 

Deletion of the New Selection (OLIT Reference Manual) 

Combining Search Techniques

Combine the above search techniques to further refine your search. For example, "chang* mail-tool" finds documents containing phrases such as "change mailtool," "change mail tool," "change mail-tool," "changing mailtool," and so on.

Understanding the Message Explanations

Each message in this book contains at least one of the following areas: