Article ID: 304590 - View products that this article applies to.
This article was previously published under Q304590
For a Microsoft Windows XP version of this article, see 323714
This article provides general guidelines about how to determine the source of a file.
When you receive an error message, you may not be sure which program the file is associated with that is referenced in the error message. The methods in this article may help you identify the source of a file and the product with which it may be included.
You may receive an error message if a file is missing, for example:
Note that the file name may or may not be included in the error message.
Cannot find a device file that may be needed to run Windows or a Windows application.
The Windows registry or SYSTEM.INI file refers to this device file, but the device file no longer exists.
How to Troubleshoot File Error MessagesTo determine the source of a file error message, first attempt to identify the name of the file or files from the error message, and then use one of the following methods.
View the Properties for the FileTo view the properties of a specific file: Right-click the file, and then click Properties. Click the Version tab.
In the Other Version Information box, the source company may be listed as well as the program or product with which the file is included. If the source company is a company other then Microsoft, use the links at the end of this article to obtain support from the manufacturer.
Query the Microsoft Knowledge Base for the File NameTo query the Microsoft Knowledge Base, click the following link:
http://search.support.microsoft.com/Search for the terms "directory listing" for your product. When you do this, you receive a list of directory listing articles for the Microsoft products that install that file. If this method does not provide the information that you want, search again by using only the file name.
This method may also help you identify a file that is included with a third-party program as well as any known or reported issues.
Error Message Because the File Is Missing or DamagedIf a missing or damaged file is causing an error message, use clean boot troubleshooting to determine from where the file is loaded.
For additional information about clean boot troubleshooting, click the article numbers below to view the articles in the Microsoft Knowledge Base:
(https://support.microsoft.com/kb/267288/EN-US/ )How to Perform a Clean Boot in Windows Millennium Edition
(https://support.microsoft.com/kb/192926/EN-US/ )How to Perform Clean-Boot Troubleshooting for Windows 98
(https://support.microsoft.com/kb/281995/EN-US/ )How to Troubleshoot Using the Msconfig Utility in Windows Me
(https://support.microsoft.com/kb/281965/EN-US/ )How to Troubleshoot Using the Msconfig Utility with Windows 98
243039For additional information about how to troubleshoot the error message, click the article number below to view the article in the Microsoft Knowledge Base:
(https://support.microsoft.com/kb/243039/EN-US/ )How to Perform a Clean Boot in Windows 95
(https://support.microsoft.com/kb/132008/EN-US/ )Err Msg: Cannot Find a Device File That May Be Needed...
Other Information Sources
Third-Party Contact InformationIf the file is from a third-party manufacturer, contact that manufacturer for more information and support.
For information about your hardware manufacturer, visit the following Web site:
http://support.microsoft.com/gp/vendors/en-usMicrosoft provides third-party contact information to help you find technical support. This contact information may change without notice. Microsoft does not guarantee the accuracy of this third-party contact information.
Article ID: 304590 - Last Review: October 17, 2012 - Revision: 1.0