A fatal error is a type of error that causes a computer program to close or the entire operating system to suddenly shut down. This type of error is commonly associated with the infamous blue screen of death in Windows, but less severe fatal exception errors only cause one program to close.
In some cases, fatal errors are spontaneous and temporary, and you can safely continue to use your computer without any additional problems. If fatal errors persist, especially if they are repeated while using the same program or performing the same task, you may have hardware or software problems on your computer.
How fatal errors appear
Fatal error messages usually appear when a program terminates abruptly due to some kind of crash, or when a Windows computer suddenly displays a blue screen of death before shutting down.
When a fatal error occurs, you usually see a message similar to one of the following:
When you receive a fatal error message, regardless of whether it looks exactly like these examples, it is important to write down what you see. The specific type of error and the series of numbers and letters that are often included can help you track down the problem.
What causes the fatal error?
When you run a program on an operating system like Windows and the program encounters something unexpected, it generates something called an exception. These exceptions allow programs to run smoothly and run normally, even when something unexpected happens. When a program receives or throws an unknown or unexpected exception, the result is a fatal error. This same type of problem can also be referred to as fatal exception or fatal exception error. Depending on the severity of the error, you may be prompted to continue executing the program, or the program may terminate automatically.
How to fix a fatal error
Fatal errors can be caused by many unexpected interactions between different programs, between programs and drivers, between programs and hardware, and even physical or hardware defects.
Follow these fixes to get to the bottom of your fatal error.
Write down your error code for specific instructions. Some fatal errors are fairly straightforward, but most of these error messages contain code that can help you find specific information about your problem. If your error looks like this:
Fatal Exception 0E occurred
0E is a code that can help guide you in the right direction. Try searching your specific fatal exception error code and see if you can find specific instructions.Update your software. Perhaps the developers have released a patch that addresses your specific problem. Most programs and applications either download and install updates automatically, give you the option to manually download and install updates, or you need to visit the developer’s website and download the update.
Update your drivers . Unexpected driver interactions can lead to fatal errors and other problems, so it’s always a good idea to keep your drivers up to date.
Remove any recently installed programs. There may be an unexpected conflict between programs or something may have been damaged during the installation process. After uninstalling recently installed programs, check for a fatal exception error. If not, try reinstalling the programs. If the problem returns, consider sending a bug report to the developer.
Restore Windows to an earlier state. If you have any system restore points available before your fatal errors started showing up, try restoring Windows to one of those points. This will effectively rollback any changes made in that time frame, which will fix your fatal error as long as it is not related to a hardware issue.
Disable any background programs that are currently running. You don’t see these programs on the taskbar, but you can open the Task Manager to manually close them. In most cases, background programs can be left alone, but there are cases where one of these programs can unexpectedly conflict with another program, causing a fatal error.
Delete your temporary files. Temporary files are usually created when programs are running, and can be left behind when the program exits. If corrupted temporary files are the cause of your fatal exception errors, then deleting them will fix the problem.
Free up some space on your hard drive. Check how much space you have on your hard drive and delete old files if your drive is full. For smooth operation, we recommend leaving about 10 percent of your total memory.
Run chkdsk and defragment your hard drive. If your fatal errors are caused by a problem with your hard drive, then running chkdsk can identify the problem and either fix it, or at least let you know what’s going on. Defragmentation can also help resolve these issues.
Eliminate overheating problems . If your computer is overheating, you can see many fatal errors in addition to many other symptoms. Make sure the fans are running and not clogged with dust or debris. If you are comfortable disassembling your computer, you can also check the internal fans and heatsink. Use canned air or vacuum gently to remove dust or debris that is interfering with your fans or radiator.