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A fatal exception is an error condition that indicates access to either invalid data values or illegal instructions. The invalid privilege level to an operation can also cause fatal exceptions. When a fatal exceptions occur, computers cannot continue processing program algorithms because one or more subsequent instructions rely on the variable value causing the exception.
A fatal exception is indicated by a system message that recommends that the program be closed or debugged. A user will usually close the program, whereas a developer may try to uncover the exception’s cause and rectify any coding errors.
A fatal exception may also be known as a fatal exception error.
Although a program continually communicates with a computer’s operating system, it may also need to communicate with additional running applications. This communication is achieved through several different code layers. When a layer encounters an exception, it sends that exception to the next layer, with the aim to locate an exception-handling algorithm. If a suitable algorithm is not found, the operating system sends a fatal exception error to the computer user. In some cases, fatal exceptions may result in a forced shut down of an operating system.
A fatal exception error message may also contain information that helps the developer locate the code causing the exception.