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

Valentin.d / Flickr

Runtime errors are problems that occur when attempting to launch a program or application on a PC. Sometimes they go away on their own, and sometimes you need to take direct action to sort them out.

Here we will cover what runtime errors are, what causes them, and how to fix them.

What Is a Runtime Error?

A runtime error is an issue that occurs when launching software. This is different from the kinds of errors you receive once a program is already running.

Usually, the runtime error will appear as a small window with an error code and details about the affected application. The prompt may also include a suggestion to contact a support team or IT administrator. You may notice some slowdown in your system prior to the error message appearing.

What Causes Runtime Errors?

Depending on the application, there are a number of reasons why a runtime error may occur. The software may have a bug that the programmers were aware of but were not able to fix. More general reasons include a lack of memory or other system resources the application requires to run properly.

How to Fix a Runtime Error

In some cases, fixing a runtime error will remedy problems impacting a number of Windows applications. In other cases, it will require a more application-specific solution. Here are a few troubleshooting tips you can try to fix runtime error issues.

  1. Restart Your PC

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

  2. Close Other Applications

    It’s possible another application is interfering with the one you're trying to run, or it is using too many system resources without leaving enough for the program in question. Use Windows Task Manager to close any program 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 operating system you can run. It sometimes allows apps to run that otherwise would not be able to. Boot into Safe Mode, then try running the application again.

  4. Update the Program

    The problem may be with a bug or error in the last release of the program you're trying to run. 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 your app has been corrupted and needs to be reinstalled. Save any important files from the app, then uninstall it using the Windows 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. Make sure your system is fully up to date. 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 the task manager. If you need to clear up some space on your PC, a disk analyzer tool can help.

    If all else fails, look for users online facing similar problems. Forums and social networks like Reddit can be a valuable resource. You can also try contacting the support team to find a workaround for the 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. 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.