Unexpected DOS Errors 0 - 23 and Windows

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Article ID: 83356 - View products that this article applies to.
This article was previously published under Q83356
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The following error message may be displayed when you start a Windows-based application
Unexpected DOS Error <n>
where <n> is a number between 0 and 23.

Causes for unexpected errors include incompatible terminate-and-stay- resident (TSR) programs, low BUFFER settings, and incompatible virtual device drivers.


The following numbers represent specific Unexpected DOS Errors in Windows 3.0. An asterisk (*) indicates that the error is trapped and handled by Program Manager (PROGMAN.EXE).
    *0  Out of memory
    *2  File not found
    *3  Path not found
    *5  Attempt to dynamically link to a task
    *6  Library requires separate data segments for each task
   *10  Incorrect Windows version
    11  Invalid .EXE file
    12  OS/2 Application
   *13  MS-DOS 4.0 application
    14  Unknown EXE type
   *15  Attempt to load an EXE created for an earlier Windows version
   *16  Attempt to load a second instance of an .EXE
        containing multiple, writeable data segments
   *17  Attempt in large-frame EMS mode to load a second instance of an
        application that links to certain non-shareable DLLs already in use
    18  Attempt in real mode to load an application marked for protected
        mode only
Unexpected DOS Error 1 can occur with third-party video drivers.

Unexpected DOS Error 2 can occur if you install Time$heet Professional on a system with the Certus NoVi TSR program loaded.

Unexpected DOS Error 5 can occur when virus-scanning software is running (noted with VDEFEND) or if the buffers= line in CONFIG.SYS is set low (that is, less than 10).

Unexpected DOS Error 6 can occur if you run Time$heet Professional on a system with the Certus NoVi TSR program.

Unexpected DOS Error 11 can occur if you use a third-party video driver. Resetting Windows to a default video driver (such as standard VGA) corrects the problem.

Unexpected DOS error 11 can occur if WINOA386.MOD is corrupted.

Unexpected DOS Error 13 can occur under Windows 3.1 if you try to run a program created with Microsoft C version 7. No resolution is available.

Unexpected DOS Error 13 can occur under Windows 3.1 if you try to run an MS-DOS-based terminal emulator program (for example, KEA's Z-Stem).

Unexpected DOS Error 14 can occur under Windows 3.0 if you run Borland Paradox version 4.0.

Unexpected DOS Error 21 can occur when you try to run Math CAD for Windows, version 4.0. To resolve this problem, obtain Math CAD's Fax #2000.

If you experience DOS Error 21 running Microsoft Works, you may be able to resolve the issue by increasing the MS-DOS environment size to 2048 bytes. To do so, add the following line to the Config.sys file and then restart your computer:
     shell=c:\command.com /p /e:2048
Unexpected DOS error 23 can occur when you run Microsoft Golf.

Unexpected DOS error 23 can occur when you try to start an MS-DOS prompt or an application and WINOA386.MOD is missing from the Windows directory or the Windows SYSTEM subdirectory and is not in the path.

Unexpected DOS Error 23 can occur, along with the message "Cannot find WINOLDAP.MOD," when you try to set up Microsoft Mail 3.2 extensions for Workgroups after you start Windows for Workgroups with the /D:T switch. KBCategory: kbref kbdisplay kberrmsg kb3rdparty
KBSubcategory: wfw wfwg win30 win31


Article ID: 83356 - Last Review: July 7, 2005 - Revision: 2.1
  • Microsoft Windows 3.0 Standard Edition
  • Microsoft Windows 3.0a
  • Microsoft Windows 3.1 Standard Edition
  • Microsoft Windows 3.11 Standard Edition

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