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Showstopper bug

Showstopper bug definition

A showstopper bug is a critical defect that stops an application or operating system in its tracks. Once a showstopper bug occurs, the system has no way to proceed and must be restarted, either by relaunching the application in question or by rebooting the device.

Due to their severity, showstopper bugs are usually highly visible to all stakeholders (including testers, project managers, end-users, and frequently the developers themselves) and are marked as high priority targets — without immediate action, showstopper bugs will prevent further development, testing, or deployment.

See also: software bug, bug fix, fatal error

Examples of showstopper bugs

  • An application consistently crashes immediately upon startup, preventing users from accessing any features or functionality.
  • A memory leak that accumulates over time, leading to the exhaustion of system resources and causing the application to become unresponsive or crash.
  • A bug in the authentication system that prevents users from logging into the application, rendering it useless for those who cannot access their accounts.
  • A bug that disables a core functionality or feature essential to the purpose of the software (for example, the ability to save documents in a word processing application).
  • A bug preventing the software from communicating with essential external services or servers, disrupting critical functions that rely on network connectivity.