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It’s frustrating when you are doing your programming and errors keep popping up but you don’t know what’s wrong with your codes because the error messages are too friendly. That’s what happened to me when I tried my ASP program on this new IIS7 which I have just installed. Bloody hell, the error message from one of my ASP page was:

An error occurred on the server when processing the URL. Please contact the system administrator

What the message failed to say was, what should you do if you were the system administrator?

Well, the solution to this is to ask IIS7 to return the exact error to the browser. Don’t return a lame message which tells nothing. To do this, you need to open the IIS Manager.

Navigate to Web Sites > Default Web Site > ASP > Debugging Properties.

Friendly error messages

Under Debugging Properties, you should see a setting called Send Errors To Browser. Change its value to True. In the right most panel in IIS Manager, click on Apply to save your changes. Now, actual and meaningful error messages will be returned to the browser which will make a programmer’s life so much easier.

ASP error message

OMG, what I missed was a closing parenthesis only. That took me nearly 30 minutes to locate and fix, thanks to the user friendly error message!