Fatal error

Fatal error

In computing, a fatal error or fatal exception error is an error that causes a program to abort and may therefore return the user to the operating system. When this happens, data that the program was processing may be lost. A fatal error is usually distinguished from a fatal system error[1][2] (colloquially referred to by the error message it produces as a "blue screen of death"). 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
  • A program attempts to divide by zero. (Only for integers; with the IEEE floating point standard, this creates an infinity instead)

In some systems, such as Mac OS X and Microsoft Windows, a fatal error causes the operating system to create a log entry or to save an image (core dump) of the process.


  1. ^ webopedia.com
  2. ^ webopedia.com

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