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We are using CiviCRM 4.6.9, and Drupal (where do I find version #??)

Suddenly a few days ago the following message began appearing: Sorry but we are not able to provide this at the moment. DB Error: unknown error

The screenshot is from my dashboard; the message also appears when attempting to view or edit most contact records. Most but not all, and I haven't found any pattern.

As far as I know, we have not recently updated Drupal or Civi.

Why are we suddenly getting this message? What can I do?

More information: the problem has gone away all by itself, so I still don't know what really happened. And that's OK by me for now.

Thanks for the helpful answers - I found the file with backtrace, and also found where to turn debugging & backtrace on and off for next time. So a helpful learning experience.

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    enabling debugging will show you more information about the issue. example.com/civicrm/admin/setting/debug?reset=1 – shrish Nov 30 '15 at 4:57
  • Check your logs- sites/default/files/civicrm/ConfigAndLog – DaveFF Nov 30 '15 at 9:22
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    shrish is correct - I recommend going to Administer menu > System Settings > Debugging and Error Handling, select "Yes" to both "Enable Debugging" and "Display Backtrace", and press "Save". Repeat the problem that caused your error, and you'll see much a much more detailed error. Please update this question with the expanded error and backtrace - and don't forget to disable debugging/backtrace when you're done! – Jon G - Megaphone Tech Nov 30 '15 at 22:34
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You will get more details in civicrm log file (*/file/civicrm/ConfigAndLog). Also the main reason of this type error is, we are using few fields that are disabled. check custom fields status that are using for contact.

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Had this issue and resolved it by disabling the only_full_group_by setting

mysql> set global sql_mode='STRICT_TRANS_TABLES,NO_ZERO_IN_DATE,NO_ZERO_DATE,ERROR_FOR_DIVISION_BY_ZERO,NO_AUTO_CREATE_USER,NO_ENGINE_SUBSTITUTION';
mysql> set session sql_mode='STRICT_TRANS_TABLES,NO_ZERO_IN_DATE,NO_ZERO_DATE,ERROR_FOR_DIVISION_BY_ZERO,NO_AUTO_CREATE_USER,NO_ENGINE_SUBSTITUTION';

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