A runtime error is an error that occurs when a program you’re using or writing crashes or produces a wrong output. At times, it may prevent you from using an application or even your personal computer (PC). In some cases, users need only refresh their devices or programs to resolve a runtime error. However, sometimes, they may have to perform a particular action to fix the error.

Runtime errors come in various types, including logic and encoding errors. Such errors are caused by unpatched bugs in the software build or used up memory. Simple fixes include reinstalling an affected program, updating it with a newer iteration, or operating it in safe mode.

Before a runtime error shows up on your computer, you may have noticed its performance slowing down. When runtime errors occur, your computer will always display a prompt stating the specific type of error you’ve encountered.


Read More about a Runtime Error

Runtime errors can be unavoidable. Read on to learn more about them.

Common Types of Runtime Errors

To understand what constitutes a runtime error better, let’s take a look at some of its common forms, which include:

Common Types of Runtime Error

Logic Error

A logic error occurs when a developer enters the wrong statements into an application’s source code. With if-then statements, for example, developers would sometimes make the mistake of leaving the logical values to revert to “true.” Many runtime errors fall under this category.

Memory Leak

Memory leaks happen when a program drains your computer’s random access memory (RAM). It often arises from unpatched software, such as when you fail to update your operating system (OS) to the newest release. 

Division by Zero Error

Division by zero (DIV/0) is an error associated with Excel workbooks. When formula inputs in the spreadsheet are left blank, the total may display a DIV/0 error. The cell formulas need to be formatted in a precise manner to produce the correct output.

Undefined Object Error

An undefined object error happens when a program attempts to call a function for a PHP or JavaScript object (or a C++ variable) that isn’t defined or assigned a value. The error also occurs for deeply nested objects. In simpler terms, the code “cannot read” or find where a property is because it does not exist or is buried several levels deep within the code.

Input/Output Device Error

Input/Output (I/O) device errors occur when issues arise with the read/write function of a device. Common causes include device malfunction, outdated drivers, OS incompatibility, and faulty universal serial bus (USB) ports. As a result, users would get a prompt saying that the device wasn’t accessible, making it impossible to transfer or encode files into it. Usually, the memory drive or computer only needs to be restarted to get rid of the issue.

Encoding Error

Encoding errors happen when you’re rendering a file, say a video file, to convert it into a usable or accessible file format. This is due to the resource-intensive nature of the encoding process. Error messages linked to this type of error include “encoding overloaded” or “encoding failed.”

How Do You Fix a Runtime Error?

First off, you need to know that a runtime error occurs due to bugs that software programmers knew about but couldn’t fix. More generally, though, a runtime error happens due to lack of memory or other system resources required for an application to run properly.

The following tips can help you fix a runtime error.

  • Restart your computer: This is an age-old technique that most often than not fixes any problem, including runtime errors.
  • Close other applications: It’s possible for a runtime error to occur because another program conflicts with the one you’re trying to run. In other cases, that other application is using too many system resources, leaving not enough for the program you wish to load. Close applications that you don’t need then try opening the program again.
  • Run the application in safe mode: In safe mode, any program runs only the bare minimum so your computer can work. To do that, boot into safe mode then try running the program.
  • Update the application: Sometimes, the problem stems from a bug or an error in the program’s last release. If you can, update it or manually download its latest version using your browser.
  • Reinstall the application: Your program may have been corrupted and needs to be reinstalled. Save important files from it then uninstall and reinstall it.
  • Consult a forum or seek a tech expert’s advice: If none of the above-mentioned tips work, look for users online facing the same problem. Forums like Reddit can be a valuable resource. You can also try contacting the program’s support team.

How Can Programmers Prevent Runtime Errors?

Programmers can prevent runtime errors by writing clear and concise code so it is easier to understand and debug. Using the correct data types also helps prevent such errors. Programmers can also detect and avoid runtime errors early through rigorous code testing, such as unit, integration, and system testing.

Aside from these best coding practices, programmers can use a debugger to go through their code line by line, logging to track runtime errors and identify patterns, and exception handling to catch runtime errors.

Key Takeaways

  • A runtime error occurs when a program you’re using or writing crashes or produces a wrong output.
  • There are several types of runtime errors, such as a logic error, a memory leak, a division by zero error, an undefined object error, an I/O device error, and an encoding error.
  • You can fix a runtime error by restarting your computer, closing other applications, running the application in safe mode, updating the application, reinstalling the application, or consulting a forum or seeking expert advice.

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