Pro Tip Of The Day – Apache Startup Error

I run Apache on my local machine so I can develop web applications in a self-contained environment.  I encountered a strange problem the other day when tried to start the Apache service:

 

First of all, what an incredibly un-helpful message.  The details also proved less-than-enlightening:

 

Mmmkay.  Thanks for that.  I know exactly what the problem is now and I can easily go about fixing it…NOT.  msvcr71.dll is the C++ runtime library so it’s not like that narrows down my problem at all.  I do know however…that it has something to do with the C++ code.  Gee thanks.

Well if anyone is experiencing the same problem, let me save you the hours of fruitless Googling that I had to endure and just tell you what the problem was.  I had a VirtualHost whose DocumentRoot pointed to a networked drive that was not currently connected.  All I had to do was re-connect the network drive and bingo! Apache started up without a complaint.

A plea to application developers everywhere: Please, for the love of Blaise Pascal, write more informative error messages!  How hard would it have been to say: “Hey idiot, you’re trying to use a network drive that isn’t currently connected!”.  Instead I get all sorts of useless (but awesome) information about ModVer’s, AppVer’s and Offsets!  I love geeky error dumps as much as the next guy…but for crying out loud…toss me at least one piece of useful debugging information along the way.

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