If computers are so smart, why do they make so many errors? And why do they cover up their deficiencies with indecipherable technobabble? Because programming is like any other business — if you can’t dazzle ’em with brilliance, baffle ’em with BS. Here’s a decoding guide for a better understanding of your PC’s thinking. — Ron Goldberg

WHAT IT SAYS: Error accessing d:drive. WHAT IT MEANS: Even though you’ve just put a disc in the CD-ROM drive, the computer says there is no CD-ROM drive. Have fun.

SAYS: Error starting program. The comdlg32.dll file cannot start. MEANS: A Windows 95 component has been overwritten by the program you just installed. You dare insult Microsoft? Retrieve the old version pronto or you’ll be punished and have to reinstall Win 95.

SAYS: Setup.exe caused a general protection fault. MEANS: You’ll be wasting time running the setup program again. If it didn’t work right the first time, why would it work the second?

SAYS: File not in library script.pl. MEANS: We supplied you with a crummy product. Now you’ve got to go online to search for the update ”patch” at the game maker’s website.

SAYS: Cannot find is_setup.exe. MEANS: Loser! You’re using an ancient CD-ROM drive. If you’re lucky, you need a new driver from the maker of the ROM drive. If not, you need a whole new ROM drive.

SAYS: Display problems. This program cannot continue. MEANS: Your game probably wants a better video card. Start saving for an upgrade.

SAYS: Invalid page fault in kernel32.dll. MEANS: Your video card is incompatible with current Microsoft multimedia techniques. Now you know why your new PC was such a bargain.

SAYS: Barney Island Error Message: Barney Not Found. MEANS: ActiMates Barney is not communicating with its PC Pack Transmitter. Depending on your kid’s reaction, it’s either a brief reprieve or a crying nightmare.