Crash to Desktop

What Does Crash to Desktop Mean?

Crash to desktop (CTD) is a computer program error that occurs when an application, normally a computer game, abruptly terminates without displaying a warning or error message and displays the desktop screen instead.


CTD is generally not associated with any action that causes the crash, but is mainly encountered when users are playing certain games.

Techopedia Explains Crash to Desktop

When CTD occurs, the game being played suddenly freezes for some time and then closes by itself. In some situations, the game displays a black screen and then plays the last few seconds of the background music prior to the crash. In other situations, an application action (such as loading an area) can appear to cause CTD. CTD bugs create problems for users who cannot trace the problem associated with the crash, as the reason for the crash is not displayed and is unknown. One method adopted to tackle the error is to run the program in windowed mode. Operating systems such as Windows Vista and XP have built-in features that can help track the cause of a CTD.


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Margaret Rouse is an award-winning technical writer and teacher known for her ability to explain complex technical subjects to a non-technical, business audience. Over the past twenty years her explanations have appeared on TechTarget websites and she's been cited as an authority in articles by the New York Times, Time Magazine, USA Today, ZDNet, PC Magazine and Discovery Magazine.Margaret's idea of a fun day is helping IT and business professionals learn to speak each other’s highly specialized languages. If you have a suggestion for a new definition or how to improve a technical explanation, please email Margaret or contact her…