What Does "Application Error" Mean in Computer Software?

By Charlie Hare

"Application Error" messages on your Windows-based computer screen are enough to make you cringe because you know they might mean something big; then again, they might not. Sometimes also called "General Protection Fault," such messages do get your attention, and for good reason. Essentially, the system is looking for a reboot, which will quite often correct the "bug," or error.

Application Error

Application Error (and sometimes General Protection Fault) is a term used in Windows systems to alert users of software conflicts or other bugs that may pose a threat to the stability of the computer system. Causes vary from the simple like two applications attempting to use a common resource, to more complex scenarios that might be associated with networks and linked computers sharing files and operating systems.

Rebooting Solution

Rebooting Windows computers often resolves Application Error conflicts and software bugs.

When the Application Error message appears, the first thing to do is work your way to a shut-down and reboot in the proper way, if at all possible. In other words, if the system is not completely "frozen," try to close programs, then shut down through the "Start" button procedure for safely ending Windows sessions (click "Start," then "Shut-down").


Utility programs can help to clean up some things that can contribute to Windows errors.

There are numerous utility programs available for download that claim to be able to help clean Windows computers of some of the things known to induce errors. Research and understand what any of these programs do before using them, as some have been known to do more harm than good.