Decoding Error Messages


Sometimes you get an error message in the ISA Server logs for which you can’t find any information, not in a KB, not on MSDN, not in the ISA Server SDK, or even in your favorite search engine.

If the error code looks something like 0x80074E23 – the key here being that it starts with 0x8007 – you can make something useful out of it. Take the last four characters in the error message, 4E23 in our example, open the Windows Calculator (Start -> All Programs -> Accessories -> Calculator). From the View menu, select Scientific, click Hex and enter the characters. Then, switch back to Dec. In our example you will get 20003. Take the result, go to and search for it. If you get too many results, narrow it down by adding ISA and/or winsock to your search.

This example error code in hex can be found in You may get an error message that you just cannot find. However, this process still enables you to get a better understanding of what is happening and may help you determine if the error message you see in the log actually is caused by ISA Server or some other device on the network.

For those who thinks this is too cumbersome, download err.exe (a tool that was developed for Exchange Server) from and check if that particular error message is indexed. To use err.exe, launch a command prompt, navigate to the folder where err.exe exists and type “err errornumber”, where errornumber is the number of the error, such as  80074E23.  In our example, the result would not be that useful from an ISA Server perspective, but in some cases you will obtain useful information about the error.

Gabriel Koren

ISA Server Test Team


Comments (6)

  1. Tom Shinder says:

    Hi Anders,

    Nice tip!



  2. DFW Computer Network Tech says:


    Thanks for the very useful information.  This information is very useful for me because I can apply this same technique used in finding errors with ISA server with finding other hex keys in Microsoft programs. This was really easy to understand and very helpful in my network troubleshooting endeavors.

    DFW Computer Network Tech

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