Circos > Documentation > Tutorials > Configuration > Errors
Circos at the EMBO NGS workshop in Tunis, Sept 15–25.

Use the latest version of Circos and read Circos best practices—these list recent important changes and identify sources of common problems.
If you are having trouble, post your issue to the Circos Google Group and include all files and detailed error logs. Please do not email me directly unless it is urgent—you are much more likely to receive a timely reply from the group.
Don't know what question to ask? Read Points of View: Visualizing Biological Data by Bang Wong, myself and invited authors from the Points of View series.

0 — Configuration and Installation

9. Common Errors

If Circos halts with an error, before contacting me or posting to the discussion group, please read the error message first.

I know it seems odd to ask, but I have tried to make many of the error messages very verbose and clear to understand.

If the error message doesn't make sense to you make sure that you understand how Circos works. Read the following pages

To help you diagnose the problem, use Circos' debugging facility to track the program as it runs. Turn on full debugging, if necessary

> circos -debug_group _all

reporting bugs and obtaining support

If you still cannot resolve the issue, please write to the discussion group.

  • state what version of Circos you are using (if it is substantially older than the current version, upgrade first)
  • provide the command you executed and the directory you executed it in
  • provide the full error report

If you need help with an image, provide

  • all configuration files (don't forget ideogram.conf, ticks.conf and others)
  • all data files (don't forget your karyotype file!)

contacting me

If I think you haven't read this section then you may assume I won't read your message.

If you are unable to obtain an answer from the discussion group, or are pressed for time (submitting a manuscript is one good example), contact me. Because I get a lot of direct requests, the more you help me diagnose your problem the faster I can respond and help you.

When you contact me please be specific about what is happening, why you think it should not be happening, and what you expect to happen. Include debug output and all your configuration and data files in your email so that I can reproduce the problem.

If you are successful in creating an image, but find that it is not what you expect please send me the image.

If you email me before posting to the group I will tell you to post to the group.

common errors and problems

Perl on Windows—can't figure it out?

If you are running Circos on Windows, you may be unfamiliar with Perl. Please read the Windows vs UNIX tutorial before you read the Distribution and Installation tutorial.

There are plenty of excellent Perl tutorials online for both UNIX and Windows. Make use of them. Remember, you don't need to know any Perl, only how to install it and call it to run Circos.

Circos errors

This is what a typical Circos error looks like. I have tried to make them clear.

  *** CIRCOS ERROR ***


  You did not define a karyotype file. Are you sure your configuration file is
  well formed?

  If you are having trouble debugging this error, use this tutorial to learn how
  to use the debugging facility

  If you're still stumped, get support in the Circos Google Group

  Stack trace:
 at /home/martink/work/circos/svn/bin/../lib/Circos/ line 271
	Circos::Error::fatal_error('configuration', 'no_karyotype') called at 
           /home/martink/work/circos/svn/bin/../lib/Circos/ line 468
	Circos::Configuration::validateconfiguration() called at 
           /home/martink/work/circos/svn/bin/../lib/ line 149
	Circos::run('Circos') called at /home/martink/bin/circos line 229

configuration file error

This is one of the most common errors reported by users.

  *** CIRCOS ERROR ***


  Circos could not find the configuration file. To run Circos, you need to
  specify this file using the -conf flag. The configuration file contains all
  the parameters that define the image, including input files, image size,
  formatting, etc.

  If you do not use the -conf flag, Circos will attempt to look for a file
  circos.conf in several reasonable places such as . etc/ ../etc

This error appears because Circos cannot find a configuration file, required to generate the image, anywhere within the current directory or subdirectories.

Windows users experience this error frequently. For example, if you've unpacked Circos in D:\circos-0.67 and run this command

C:\My Documents>perl D:\circos-0.67\bin\circos 

Circos will look within C:\My Documents for a configuration file. If you've just installed Circos, no configuration file will be found.

Instead, you want to run Circos in a directory from which the configuration file can be easily referenced. There is an example image that is bundled with the distribution, found in example/.

C:\My Documents>cd D:\circos-0.67\example
D:\circos-0.67\example>perl D:\circos-0.67\bin\circos -conf etc\circos.conf

configuration file import

If you are importing configuration files using <<include ...>>, make sure you understand how the path resolution works. This is described in the Configuration Files tutorial.

missing units

Many configuration parameters require units (see tutorial 1.2). An error like this

  Unable to convert a value [0.005] from one unit [n] to another [b]. The
  following from->to combinations were expected: r->b u->b

means that the value 0.005 was expected to have a unit r (relative) or u (chromosome unit) for conversion to b (base), but was found to have unit n (explicit code for no unit).

If you do not define a required parameter the error will look like this

  The parameter [ideogram/thickness] was not defined. It needs to be defined and
  have one of these units [r,p].

slow performance

Some parts of the code are less (or more) optimized than others. In particular, text tracks can take a long time to render. For example, if you've asked to draw 50,000,000 data points, prepare to wait (and be disappointed with the output).

Turn on benchmarking using -debug_group +timer to add timings to the debug reportingoutput. See the Debugging tutorial for more information.