The system error dialog box is presented when an unrecoverable error occurs in classic Mac OS.
From System 1 through Mac OS 9, the Macintosh Toolbox contained an error handler that, when an OS-level error was triggered, would launch the built-in debugger and passed it the error. If no advanced debugger such as MacsBug was installed, MiniBug would be triggered and would present a dialog box with a bomb icon in the upper left corner of the window, and the text "Sorry, a system error occurred. ID=
<number>". The number would be a pre-defined system error code that could be looked up in the Apple Toolbox developer documents.
Though each error has an associated number, object name, and localized text description, Apple only embedded the number for most errors, even in later versions of the OS where the amount of memory used would have been trivial.
- -192 - Resource not found (often after the file has been transferred through a file system that doesn't support resource forks).
- 01 - Bus error.
- 02 - Address error.
- 03 - Illegal instruction error.
- 04 - Divide by zero error.
- 05 - Check trap error.
- 10 - Instruction not found in the 68k instruction lookup table.
- 11 - Miscellaneous hardware exception error.
- 15 - Segment loader failed to load a part of the application code into memory.
- 25 - Out of memory.
- 27 - File system map has been trashed.
- 31 - Not the disk I wanted. (obsolete)
- 102 - System is too old for this ROM.
- 103 - Booting in 32-bit on a 24-bit addressing system.
Though the system error dialog box can present a resume button, it is often grayed out. It is possible to invoke the debugger through
command-power (or a programmer's key) to enter commands to force quit the application that has caused the error condition. If the crash occurs while loading a extensions in Mac OS 8.6 or later, the dialog box will advise the user to "temporarily turn off extensions, restart and hold down the shift key" to enable an early form of safe mode.
- Mac OS System Error Codes: 1 to 32767 at Apple (archievd 2014-11-22)
- Macintosh System Error Codes Explained (Pre OS X) by AppleCare (1998-03-04)
- Macintosh Error Codes at Carnegie Mellon University School of Computer Science
- Ambushed by the Programmer's Window at comp.sys.mac.comm via Google Groups (1997-02)
- Common Mac System Bombs Decoded by Dog Cow at Mac 512K Blog (2018-12-06)