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May 20, 2006 12:03 AM

Broken: Mysterious error message

Matt Baume writes in:

As soon as I logged on to my computer today, it gave me an error message that said, "Driver components mis-match. Exit is the only option." There was only an OK button to press.


Not only is that unhelpful, (which components?), it's confusing -- am I supposed to manually exit, or is the program exiting by itself? Sure, exit is the only option, but am I or the computer supposed to exercise that option?

I looked at my taskbar and saw the red gear icon. I know I've seen it somewhere before, associated with a specific application. Now, which one was it? Oh yes:


A clue! The mystery is coming undone! Well, somewhat. Now I've deciphered that my Folding-at-Home screensaver is to blame somehow. But how? Is this a problem with a driver? More than one driver? In the registry? With my user profile? Do I need to reinstall Folding-at-Home, or nVidia software, or OpenGL software?


Gah! Exit is the only option.


No Exit, man. Hell is other computers.

Posted by: abcSartre at May 20, 2006 12:15 AM

Do not struggle. Resistance is futile. Exit is the only option.

Posted by: Pyotr at May 20, 2006 12:34 AM

lose the screensaver- those are usually loaded with bugs(or even viruses)- why do you think they give them away for free?- i just set my computer so it keeps the desk top until it just shuts off the monitor- saves energy, and keeps the computer virus-free

Posted by: scott at May 20, 2006 01:30 AM

For the uninformed: Folding @ Hone is a Distributed Computing project being run by Stanford University. It calculates how proteins fold to help find new medicines. There's more info on their site:

Posted by: somebody at May 20, 2006 01:54 AM

on the very first window, the error message, the titel reads: "nVidia OpenGL Driver"

Therefore, your component is the Video card, which in your case is made by nVidia. Reinstall or download up to date drivers.

Posted by: RogerG at May 20, 2006 08:54 AM

Not broken, just too geeky.

The driver detected that some files are the wrong version and for safety's sake it shut itself down. Reinstall your video driver.

Posted by: Loren Pechtel at May 20, 2006 10:51 AM

It's not a gear, it's a certain protein molecule.

Posted by: StatsCan at May 20, 2006 12:27 PM

Broken. Even if you programmers out there can figure out what driver components are mis-matched, the cryptic phrase "Exit is the only option" and the rest of the error message doesn't help you resolve the problem, as it should were it not broken. Most people would figure it out sooner or later, update the video driver or screensaver or whatever, and be on their merry way, but that's all a big unnecessary hassle that could be avoided very simply with a better error message.

Posted by: Ron Mexico at May 20, 2006 03:34 PM

I think the biggest problem with this error message is that it reads like something out of a campy science fiction movie, which only seeks to disorient and confuse the end user about a problem that should otherwise be relatively easy to fix with a little know-how and patience.

- randi

Posted by: randilyn at May 20, 2006 06:20 PM

Reminds me of the time I got the message "An unknown error occured while trying to access an unnamed file."

Posted by: EricJ2190 at May 20, 2006 08:12 PM

haha 11th post.

It is just a badly written code for the error. Better put; the error would go like this:

Driver/component conflict, the nVidia software will now close. To reduce errors, use hardware that supports the software.

Posted by: Ben at May 20, 2006 10:32 PM

Real easy solution:

Go Mac

Posted by: RGF at May 21, 2006 11:29 AM

And don't forget:

All Your Base Are Belong To Us.

Posted by: Edward at May 21, 2006 11:49 AM

Blast you, Edward! I was going to say:

All Your Exit Are Belong To Us

Posted by: hahahahaha at May 21, 2006 05:33 PM

Wow! Looks like the screensaver needs to be un-installed!

Posted by: Another guy named Alex B. at May 21, 2006 10:27 PM

Wow! That's a terrible solution!

Posted by: gmangw at May 22, 2006 12:23 AM

Not broken, you're just not a computer tech.

Ben's right. It could be better written, but for those of us who know what we're doing, it's good enough.

Posted by: WiglyWorm at May 22, 2006 01:16 AM

Sounds like some NIN lyrics. "I am the exit, and I control you."

Posted by: yobot at May 22, 2006 09:00 AM

WiglyWorm is right, techie folks who know what they're doing wouldn't be bothered by this message. But I think that both Folding@Home and nVidia cards are intended for a broad range of users, so I think a lot of people would be left stranded by this.

Posted by: Mattymatt at May 22, 2006 02:12 PM

Oh look, I was installing some software for this new USB memory stick thing and got an error saying:

"In Windows XP and Window 2000, device must plug in USB port and reinstall to ensure driver install indeed"

Yeah, my device plugged into the USB port, so I supposedly have to reinstall this multiple times to make sure it really installs...right?

Posted by: Trent Chernecki at May 23, 2006 01:14 PM

this is broken.

and to anyone who saies get a MAC.

don't get one. unless you are prepared to have alot of stuff not compatable.

Posted by: TheGeneral at May 23, 2006 01:49 PM

this is broken.

and to anyone who saies get a MAC.

don't get one. unless you are prepared to have alot of stuff not compatable.

Posted by: TheGeneral at May 23, 2006 01:49 PM

it just posted my stuff twice


thats broken

Posted by: TheGeneral at May 23, 2006 01:50 PM

Hey, Techno-jerks... "good-enough" is not the answer. About as useful as your car having a warning light that "Fuel to oxygen ratio in danger" when "Low fuel" is the RIGHT warning. Yep, the first warning is good enough... congrats on having a "good enough" life.

The error said, "EXIT is the only option", yet EXIT was not an option on any of those boxes. BAH-ROH-KEN.

Posted by: sd at May 23, 2006 10:16 PM

Just be happy it didn't say "Death is the only option"

Posted by: Joel L. at May 24, 2006 01:46 PM

Don't worry, you arent the only one with this problem:

Posted by: Exit is the only option! at May 28, 2006 10:07 AM

Nice one, Joel! ROFL ROFL ROFL!!!

Posted by: Another guy named Alex B. at May 29, 2006 01:03 PM

"this is broken.

and to anyone who saies get a MAC.

don't get one. unless you are prepared to have alot of stuff not compatable. "

Uh... one of the reasons i like a Mac is because of the system-wide spellchecker. Mac users are literate, and most everything not mac-able is s**t anyway

Posted by: macboy at May 29, 2006 10:44 PM

Update it.

A little fact about it.


(It worked for me with my 3d design programs!!!)

Posted by: hide04 at June 12, 2006 10:51 PM

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