Runtime Error: What it is and How to Fix it

Get rid of those annoying errors to get your PC working again

Runtime Error message in Windows


Runtime errors are problems with starting a program or application and typically stop you from using your PC like you want to. Sometimes they go away on their own, and other times you have to take more direct action to sort them out. Here's how to fix runtime errors.

What is Runtime Error?

A runtime error is an issue with the launching of a piece of software. This is different from the kind of errors you see once a program is already running, and almost always occurs at the outset when you first try to launch that particular app.

You'll usually see a runtime error appear as a small window with an error code and specific details about the impacted application, followed by a suggestion that you contact a support team or IT administrator. You may also notice some slowdown in your system prior to the error message appearing.

What Causes a Runtime Error?

Depending on the application, there are a number of reasons a runtime error might occur. The piece of software may have a bug in it the programmers were aware of but weren't able to fix, for example. More general reasons include a lack of memory or other system resources the application requires to run properly.

How to Fix a Runtime Error

Fixing a runtime error can be done with broad methods that work for a number of applications and Windows problems, or it might require something more application-specific. Here are a few different ways you can tackle runtime error issues.

  1. Restart your PC. An oldie but a goodie, restarting your system can often fix your problems, and runtime errors are no exception.

  2. Close down other applications. It’s possible another application is interfering with the one you're trying to run or it’s using too many system resources without leaving enough for your new app. Closing down any unnecessary programs can help alleviate this problem. Use the Windows Task Manager to close down anything you don't need running, then try opening the app again.

  3. Run the app in Safe Mode. Safe mode is the most barebones Windows you can run and it sometimes allows apps to run that wouldn't otherwise be able to. Boot into Safe Mode, then try running the application again.

  4. Update the program. It may be a bug with the last release of the application you're trying to run is causing the runtime error. If you can, update it using a separate utility, or manually download the latest version using your browser to see if that fixes the issue.

  5. Reinstall the app. It may be that somewhere along the line your chosen app became corrupted and just needs to be reinstalled. Save any important files from the app, then uninstall it using Windows' own Add or Remove Programs tool, or one of these uninstaller apps.

  6. Update your drivers. It may be that a Windows, motherboard, or graphics driver is interfering with your app and causing the runtime error. Making sure your system is up to date is great for all manner of reasons, but it can also help with these errors. Download the latest drivers from your system manufacturer's website, or use a free driver update tool.

  7. Scan for malware. It's not unheard of for malware and viruses to cause runtime errors with certain applications. It's never a bad idea to scan your system to make sure it's clean of any infections. Run a scan with your favorite antivirus software, or read up on how to clean your system from malware.

  8. Make sure you have enough memory and storage. Sometimes applications need a little extra storage space or memory to run properly. Make sure your system has enough of each using task manager. If you need to clear up some space on your PC, a disk analyzer tool can help.

If all else fails, try to see if there are others having the same problem as you. Social networks like Reddit or the application's official forums can help there. They may be able to give you a fix for that specific app. You can also try contacting the support team or the developers themselves to see if they can provide a workaround for your runtime error.

Other Issues Like the Runtime Error

If you want to learn more about fixing problems with your Windows machine, there are some other errors worth learning about too. There are No Internet Secured connection errors, 0x0000007B errors, Code 37 errors, Code 19 errors, and even problems that are purely associated with the Windows startup process.