If you've worked with Microsoft SQL Server in a production environment for any length of time, you've undoubtedly been exposed to a number of different error messages. For example, many of us are probably familiar, too familiar perhaps, with error 1205 - the dreaded "you've been chosen as the victim of a deadlock" message.
Or maybe you are more of a developer than a DBA. So you may be more familiar with error messages like 2714 - "there is already an object named this in the database."
There may be many messages that we feel that we know by heart. However there are many more that we do not.
Have you ever been given an error number without the associated message? If someone came to you and said "The application gave me error 8115. What does that mean?" would you know where to look? A quick search on Google or Windows Live Search may produce the information you seek.
However, SQL Server has this information built into its metadata. The sysmessages system table in SQL Server 2000 and the sys.messages catalog view in SQL Server 2005 contain a list of errors that SQL Server may produce and their associated messages.
So, to quickly see the message test associated with error number 8115, you can run the following query in SQL Server 2005. I have filtered the output to only show results in English; other languages may be available.
message_id = 8115 AND
language_id = 1033
The equivalent SQL Server 2000 equivalent is as follows.
error = 8115 AND
msglangid = 1033
Once again, I have limited the output to English.
For more information, refer to Books Online and look up sys.messages for SQL Server 2005 or sysmessages for SQL Server 2000.