What is a Runtime Error

Runtime errors are glitches or problems that occur when a computer program is executed. Because a wide range of errors is usually grouped under the collective term of a runtime error, the operating system usually provides some information about the nature of the error that has occurred. The message provides the end user or the technician with some idea of what component has failed to launch properly, and provides a starting point for seeking resolution to the issue. A runtime error may occur due to some serious corruption within the program, or it could simply be a one time event that can be overcome by simply rebooting the program and starting over. However, when the runtime error continues to appear consistently, that is an indication that a permanent issue exists, and should be addressed as soon as possible.

How Do I Report A Runtime Error? If you are at work and experience a runtime error with your workstation, your first option is to reboot the machine and see if you experience the same error a second time. It is not unusual for system support people to try this first as a way of clearing out whatever caused the runtime error, so it generally won't hurt to try it yourself. If this doesn't work, then it is time to call for technical support. In order to assist the support team in dealing with the runtime error, it is a good idea for you to record basic information about the nature of the error. The first component you should make note of is the error message you receive along with the numerical designation of the runtime error.

Be sure to copy the text of the message error exactly as it appears on your screen. Do not attempt to summarize the content of substitute words in the text. Runtime error messages are standardized and providing the support team with the correct information will make it much easier to fix the issue. Second, note exactly where you were in the system when the error took place.

If you were putting together a letter in your word processing program, make note of the file you were using, it you had already saved it or were using a template. Identifying what you were doing will also help isolate the origin of the problem. Next, record exactly what you were doing when the runtime error occurred. For example, if you had just attempted to save a letter, make note of that. If the error occurred when you started a new paragraph, or attempted to run the grammar or spell check feature, make sure to tell the support team that. If you know where to find this data, make sure to check the general state of the workstation when the error occurred, such as the memory, disk, and CPU usage.

If you are not sure where to find this detail, simply pull back from the machine and wait for someone from the support team to provide you with further instructions.

Tom Paine writes for The Tech FAQ and is the author of articles such as Runtime Error, Internet Explorer Script Error, and CMOS Checksum Bad Error.

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