On confusing error messages

This morning I stumbled upon a strange error message, while running a .NET console application:

The application has failed to start because its side-by-side configuration is in
correct. Please see the application event log or use the command-line sxstrace.e
xe tool for more detail.

All went fine until yesterday.. I was ready to start digging using sxstrace and other esoteric tools, learning again about assembly side-by-side loading (http://msdn.microsoft.com/en-us/library/windows/desktop/ff951640(v=vs.85).aspx) or searching for a misterios .manifest file that I was sure does not exists there.
Instead I decided to actually.. read what the error message was telling me: ‘Please see the application event log’ 🙂

I was not expecting to find anything there, but, in EventLog/Windows/Application log, was a much more helpful message:
Activation context generation failed for “E:\[….]Service.exe”.Error in manifest or policy file “E:\[….]Service.exe.Config” on line 33. Invalid Xml syntax.

Looking in the .config file, the problem was obvious: a missing quote (“) at the end of a config setting.. 🙂
Fixed that and the error is gone.

The conclusion.. wtf ?

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