A fatal error is a type of error that forces a computer program to close or the entire operating system to shut down suddenly. This type of error is commonly associated with the blue screen of death in Windows, but less severe fatal exception errors only cause a single program to close.
In some cases, fatal errors are spontaneous and temporary, and you can safely continue using the computer without any additional problems. If fatal errors persist, and especially if these errors reoccur when using the same program or performing the same task, there could be a problem with either the hardware or software on the computer.
How Fatal Errors Appear
Fatal error messages typically appear when a program suddenly shuts down because of some type of failure, or when a Windows computer suddenly displays the blue screen of death before shutting down, or when a macOS or Linux computer suffers a kernel panic.
When a fatal error occurs, a message like one of these appears:
- FATAL ERROR: Unhandled xxx Exception at xxx
- A fatal exception xx has occurred at xxxx:xxxxxxxx
- Fatal error detected, unable to continue. Terminating due to uncaught exception.
When you experience a fatal error message, whether or not it looks exactly like these examples, write down what you see. The specific type of error, and the series of numbers and letters that are often included, can help track down the problem.
What Causes a Fatal Error?
When you run a program on an operating system like Windows, and the program encounters something unexpected, it generates a message called an exception. These exceptions allow programs to run smoothly and operate normally, even when something unexpected happens.
When a program is given or generates an unknown or unexpected exception, the result is a fatal error. This same type of problem can also be referred to as a fatal exception, or a fatal exception error.
Depending on the severity of the error, you may be given the option to continue running the program, or the program may terminate automatically.
How to Fix a Fatal Error
Fatal errors can be caused by a variety of unexpected interactions between different programs, between programs and drivers, between programs and the hardware, and physical faults or defects in the hardware.
Follow these fixes to get to the bottom of the fatal error.
Search for the error code to find specific instructions. Some fatal errors are fairly basic, but most error messages provide a code that can help you find specific information about the problem. If the error looks like this:
- A fatal exception 0E has occurred at xxxx:xxxxxxxx
The 0E is a code that might point you in the right direction. Run a search for the specific fatal exception error code, and see if you can find specific instructions.
The other code, which usually follows the format of two sets of numbers separated by a colon, may also help. This code is less likely to yield results, but it's worth a quick search before you move on.
Update the software. The developers may have released a patch designed to fix the specific problem. Most programs and apps either download and install updates automatically, provide you with an option to manually download and install updates, or prompt you to visit the developer's website and download the update.
If you can't figure out how to update the software, check out our list of free software updater programs. These programs keep all your programs up to date.
Update the drivers. Unexpected interactions involving drivers can cause fatal errors, and other problems, so it's always a good idea to keep the drivers up to date.
If the drivers are up to date, roll back the drivers to earlier versions. There's a chance the old drivers were fine, but an automatic update introduced the fatal error. Check to see if any drivers were updated immediately before the problems started, and roll those back first.
Uninstall any recently installed programs. There may be an unforeseen conflict between the programs, or something could have been corrupted during the installation process. After uninstalling the recently installed programs, check to see if the fatal exception error still happens. If it doesn't, reinstall the programs. If the problem comes back, submit a bug report to the developer.
Restore Windows to an earlier state. If you saved system restore points from before the fatal errors appeared, restore Windows to one of those points. This step rolls back any changes made during that time span, which will fix the fatal error problem if it isn't related to a hardware glitch.(Video) Fix World of Warcraft Error 132 (0x85100084) Fatal Exception on Windows
Disable unnecessary background programs. You don't see these programs on the taskbar, but you can open the task manager to shut them down manually. In most cases, background programs can be left alone. However, there are cases where one of these programs may conflict with a different program in an unexpected way, causing a fatal error.
Don't shut down programs you're unfamiliar with. You can safely shut down any program you originally opened, but closing unfamiliar or system-level apps and background processes may destabilize the operating system, necessitating a reboot.
Delete temporary files. Temporary files save when programs are running, but sometimes these files aren't deleted when the program closes. If corrupt temporary files are the cause of the fatal exception errors, then removing these files will fix the problem.
Free up space on the hard drive. Check how much space is on the hard drive, and delete old files if the drive is full. Leave about 10% of the total storage space free for smooth operation.
Run chkdsk. If the fatal errors are caused by a problem with the hard drive, then running chkdsk can identify the error and either fix it or at least let you know what's going on.
Rule out heat problems. If your computer overheats, it generates several fatal errors in addition to a variety of other symptoms.
Verify that the fans work and aren't clogged with dust or debris. If you're comfortable taking the computer apart, check the internal fans and the heat sink. Carefully use canned air or a vacuum to remove any dust or debris that prevent the fans or heat sink from functioning efficiently.
If you use canned air, hold the can upright to avoid spraying liquid inside the computer. Don't touch the components inside the computer if you aren't wearing a properly set up ground strap. If you aren't comfortable poking around inside a computer or laptop, seek professional assistance.
Test the random access memory for problems. Memory errors generate fatal errors, although you may see a memory exception or an out of memory exception error instead. Run a memory test application. If you discover that the RAM is faulty, replace the defective component or components.
Check the rest of the hardware. If you experience recurring fatal errors, and everything has checked out so far, you might have a subtle problem with some of the hardware in the computer. In some cases, replacing components like the hard drive or motherboard can fix fatal errors.(Video) How To Fix AutoCAD FATAL ERROR: Unhandled Access Violation Writing 0x9e0fd3c Exception at 9e0fd3ch
This level of diagnostics is complicated, so you may have to seek professional assistance.
How do I fix it when my computer has a fatal error when updating?
To fix a Windows update error, close all other programs, pause any current downloads or updates, and run the Windows Update Troubleshooter. If the error occurs during an app update, uninstall and reinstall the app.
What does “fatal error no language file found” mean?
If you see a “no language file found” error message, it could be an issue with a startup program. Remove any recently installed programs, run SFC, and perform a System Restore if necessary.(Video) FIX World of Warcraft ERROR 132 ! ( FIX 0X85100084 ERROR )
What does “system error code” mean?
A system error codeis a number and message that displays when Windows encounters an error. A stop code is an error message that appears when Windows completely crashes.
Was this page helpful?
Thanks for letting us know!
Get the Latest Tech News Delivered Every Day
Tell us why!
What causes fatal exception error? ›
A fatal error occurs typically in any of the following cases: An illegal instruction has been attempted. Invalid data or code has been accessed. An operation is not allowed in the current ring or CPU mode.Why does my game keep saying fatal error? ›
Fatal Errors are generally related to a software or hardware failure, that prevents the game from accessing required resources to start the game.How to solve fatal error in Java? ›
If a fatal error causes the process that is hosting the Java Virtual Machine (JVM) to terminate, the JVM gathers information about the error and writes a crash report. The JVM tries to identify the nature and location of the error.Can you fix a fatal hardware error? ›
Update Disk Driver. If the driver for the problematic storage device is outdated, then this can cause the fatal device hardware error. Therefore, updating the driver can fix the issue.What is blue screen fatal error? ›
A blue screen error (also called a stop error) can occur if a problem causes your device to shut down or restart unexpectedly. You might see a blue screen with a message that your device ran into a problem and needs to restart.What does fatal exception mean? ›
What Does Fatal Exception Mean? A fatal exception is an error condition that indicates access to either invalid data values or illegal instructions. The invalid privilege level to an operation can also cause fatal exceptions.What is fatal error example? ›
That is a fatal error to fall into. The result of that fatal error on his part was not slow in showing itself. That was a fatal error on his part. The tenant can permit one man employed by him to take the rabbits—and that is the fatal error, because that creates a monopoly.What is fatal error in BIOS? ›
If you are getting the chassis intruded fatal error, it means the cabinet where your motherboard is located is open. You can fix this issue quickly by fitting the chassis into place. Another effective solution is to disable the chassis intrusion alert.How was fatal error created? ›
It all started with a fight between Error and Geno. Geno lost, and Error tied him up with his strings. But when he attempted to eliminate him, Geno's Determination combined with the fact that he is a past Error saved him. He turned into Fatal_Error, and he became much more powerful.What does it mean when an email address has fatal errors? ›
It may also tell you whether the error is a "permanent fatal error" (one which makes it impossible to deliver the message) or a "transient non-fatal error" (just a temporary setback, and the mail server will keep trying).
What causes an execution error? ›
An execution error occurs when a program is asked to do something that it cannot, resulting in a 'crash'. The widely used example of a run time error is asking a program to divide by 0. The code contains no syntax or logic errors but when it runs it can't perform the task that it has been programmed to carry out.