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error messages details

Whenever I get different error messages, there is often a number accompanying it.  At times there is a "details" button in the window also.  
Is there someplace on my computer that would have an error message index of some kind so that I can read more about the different error messages to know more about them?  Like maybe an index of the numbers pertaining to the error messages so that I can read them.  Are the numbers the same for all computers?  Perhaps there is a place like this on the net somewhere?  I don't know much of anything about error messages and want to learn more.
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The origin of most messages is Microsoft products, sorry Bill.  The place I go to get the information is Microsoft Developers Network at address : http://support.microsoft.com/support/search/c.asp?FR=0
tomarcaAuthor Commented:
So do I have to look up the specific software I am using at the time, then type in the error message below it in the key words search?  Sometimes I don't know what product is affected for sure- do I guess?  Is this the best I can do?
You can select the particular product, but you can also tell it to search all Microsoft products by selecting the option from the combo box containing all the product list.  It takes a little work to get used to how to query the system, but it can be helpful.
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