Fatal Error What It Is and How to Fix It

In the digital world, running into errors can be a common but disheartening experience. Among these, a “fatal error” is particularly alarming because it signals that something significant has gone wrong, causing a program or system to shut down unexpectedly. These errors can come without warning and are often accompanied by cryptic messages that leave you puzzled. Understanding the basics of why these errors occur and how to troubleshoot them is crucial for anybody using a computer, regardless of their technical background. With the right approach, you can resolve these problems and get back to work with minimal disruption.

fatal error what it is and how to fix it

Restart Your Computer

One of the most common pieces of advice for fixing technical issues might also seem like the simplest – restarting your computer. A reboot can clear your system’s memory and give it a fresh start, potentially resolving any fatal errors that have occurred.


  1. Save any open files if possible to avoid losing progress.
  2. Go to the Start menu, click on the Power button, and choose “Restart.”
  3. Wait for the computer to shut down and come back online.

Restarting your system is quick, easy, and often effective. However, it might not resolve underlying issues if the fatal error repeats itself.

Update Your Software

Outdated software can lead to compatibility issues, bugs, and fatal errors. Ensuring all your programs and operating system are up-to-date is a proactive way to prevent and resolve these errors.


  1. Open your operating system’s update tool (on Windows, it’s Windows Update).
  2. Check for any available updates and install them.
  3. Do the same for the software you were using when the fatal error occurred.

Updates can provide bug fixes that resolve fatal errors, but they can be time-consuming and sometimes introduce new problems if they contain bugs themselves.

Scan for Malware

Malware can cause a multitude of issues, including fatal errors. Regularly scanning your computer for malware can both prevent and fix these issues.


  1. Install a reputable antivirus program if you don’t already have one.
  2. Run a full system scan.
  3. Follow the antivirus program’s recommendations to deal with any discovered threats.

Malware scans can eliminate harmful software causing fatal errors, but full scans can be lengthy and may slow down your system temporarily during the scan.

Check Your Hardware

Faulty hardware can often be the culprit behind fatal errors. Checking your hardware can help you identify if there are any physical problems with your system’s components.


  1. Listen for unusual sounds from your computer that might indicate a hardware issue.
  2. If comfortable, open your computer case and visually inspect for dust or damage.
  3. Consider using diagnostic software to check your hardware’s health.

Hardware checks can detect failing components, but they require a certain comfort level with handling computer internals or might necessitate a professional’s help.

Reinstall the Problematic Software

If a specific software program is throwing fatal errors, reinstalling it can give you a clean slate.


  1. Uninstall the software through the “Add or Remove Programs” feature in your system settings.
  2. Download the latest version from the official website or reinstall from the original media.
  3. Install the software again, following the on-screen instructions.

Reinstalling software may resolve fatal errors but can result in the loss of personalized settings unless you back them up first.

Update Drivers

Drivers are critical software components that let your operating system communicate with hardware devices. Out-of-date or corrupt drivers can cause fatal errors.


  1. Determine which hardware component the driver corresponds to.
  2. Visit the manufacturer’s website to find the latest driver update.
  3. Download and install the driver, following the on-screen prompts.

Updating drivers can enhance system stability and performance, though it might be intimidating for novices to determine which drivers are necessary.

Perform a System Restore

System Restore can return your computer system to a previous state where everything functioned correctly.


  1. Access System Restore by typing it into your system’s search bar.
  2. Choose a restore point where you know your system was error-free.
  3. Follow the on-screen instructions to revert your system to that state.

System Restore can effectively reverse recent system changes that might have caused errors, but you may lose some recent data or software installations.

Check System Files

Corrupted system files can be at the heart of fatal errors. Tools like the System File Checker can identify and repair corrupt files.


  1. Open the Command Prompt as an administrator.
  2. Type sfc /scannow and press Enter.
  3. Let the scan complete and follow any instructions provided.

This process can resolve issues caused by system file corruption but may not be as helpful for errors unrelated to system files.

Adjust Virtual Memory Settings

Virtual memory is a portion of the hard drive that your system uses as if it were RAM. When set too low, it can lead to fatal errors.


  1. Go to System Properties and then the Advanced tab.
  2. Under Performance, click on Settings, then the Advanced tab.
  3. Click on Change under Virtual Memory, uncheck ‘Automatically manage…’ and set a custom size.

Adjusting virtual memory can improve system performance, but setting it incorrectly can lead to instability.

Clean Installation of Operating System

When all else fails, a clean installation of your operating system may be the last resort to fix fatal errors.


  1. Backup all important data.
  2. Create a bootable USB flash drive or CD/DVD with your operating system.
  3. Boot from the media and follow instructions to install the OS.

A clean install is time-consuming and will erase all data on the system drive but can resolve persistent fatal errors.

In conclusion, encountering a fatal error can be a frustrating experience, but with the right tools and guidance, it’s often something you can resolve yourself. Each solution comes with its own set of steps and considerations; it’s about finding the one that suits your particular situation. With patience and careful attention to detail, you can get your system back up and running smoothly.


Q: Can a fatal error damage my computer?
A: Fatal errors are generally software-related, not physically damaging to your computer’s hardware. However, they can be symptomatic of underlying hardware issues.

Q: Should I try all these solutions in order?
A: It’s recommended to start with simpler solutions like restarting your computer or updating your software before moving on to more complex ones like adjusting your virtual memory settings or reinstalling your OS.

Q: How often should I back up my data to prevent loss from fatal errors?
A: It’s good practice to back up your data regularly, especially before making significant changes to your system or troubleshooting errors. A weekly or monthly schedule could be ideal, depending on how frequently you accumulate new data.

You may also like

Leave a reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

More in How-To