What Is a Run-time Error?

by Isaiah Turning

Encountering a run-time error for the first time is often confusing for a computer user who does not understand the reasons for possible problems caused by this error. Run-time errors can be caused by conflicts between two programs, lack of available computer memory, problems with software or malicious software such as computer viruses. Understanding and reacting in the correct manner will ensure the problem is corrected properly to prevent any further errors.


A run-time error can be an important issue for a computer user and can severely affect a computer's performance. When a run-time error is encountered, the computer system can become unstable and a user may be required to restart the computer. Tech-Faq.com also points out that an affected computer may significantly slow down before the message is displayed. In some cases, the computer may become unresponsive and need to be restarted improperly after a run-time error.


A run-time error is presented as a message box containing dialogue that usually provides a code to help identify the problem. The run-time error presents information to enable quicker troubleshooting and allow a faster resolution to a problem so that it does not become persistent. Run-time errors relay much information about the cause of a problem but may not always be able to provide an error code.


Computerhope.com states that a run-time error can be caused by conflicts with running programs, software issues, memory problems or computer viruses. When a running program interferes with another running process the two programs may cause a conflict that results in a run-time error. Newly installed software may have its own internal issues that cause run-time errors. Run-time errors can also occur when the computer runs out of memory or when a computer virus changes program settings on a computer.


Reinstalling a program that is experiencing a run-time error can often correct the problem. However, if the problem is caused by an issue with computer memory or computer viruses, other steps must be taken. Run-time errors caused by lack of memory can often be corrected by upgrading your computer. If the cause of a run-time error is unclear, a proper virus scan is needed to ensure the problem is not due to malicious software.


If the run-time error provides an error code, use the error code directory on Computerhope.com to quickly identify the cause of the problem. Always be sure to keep virus definitions up to date for any running antivirus software on your computer.

About the Author

Isaiah Turning is a freelance writer living in the suburbs of Philadelphia, Pa. In his three-year career, Turning has written computer and technology articles for a number of websites, most recently eHow.com.