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Fatal error

Fatal error

(also critical error, critical failure)

Fatal error definition

A fatal error is a severe software malfunction that immediately halts program execution. Often termed a ‘system crash’ or ‘critical failure’, it disrupts normal operations drastically. Unlike minor glitches or bugs, it cannot be bypassed or ignored. This error typically prompts an unexpected program shutdown. Swift intervention is required to address and rectify its root cause.

See also: Blue Screen of Death, Red Screen of Death

Examples of fatal error

  1. Memory overflow error. This occurs when a program tries to use more memory than the system can allocate. Often seen in applications that handle vast amounts of data, it results in the program’s abrupt termination.
  2. Divide by zero error. In computational tasks, dividing a number by zero is undefined. When software inadvertently attempts this operation, it can immediately halt the system.
  3. Null pointer dereference. A null pointer dereference happens when software tries to access a memory location through a pointer that hasn’t been initialized. This results in the software crashing while it fetches non-existent data.
  4. Stack overflow. This error transpires when the stack, a special region of computer memory, exceeds its capacity due to excessive recursive calls or data pushes. The overflow can cause the program to terminate unexpectedly.
  5. Missing system file. When a program relies on an external system file or library and can’t locate it, it can crash. This can happen due to erroneous installations, accidental deletions, or corrupted files.

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