Overflow Error

What Does Overflow Error Mean?

In computing, an overflow error is an error that happens when a program receives a number, value or variable outside the scope of its ability to handle. This type of error is somewhat common in programming, especially when dealing with integers or other numerical types of variables.


Techopedia Explains Overflow Error

Different types of overflow errors include those that refer to the memory stacks used for programming and those that deal with resident memory for storage. A stack overflow relates to an overload on the conditions used to handle processes in a computing stack, which can be related to running too many programs at once or to viruses or other problems. Other types of overflow errors are caused by developers not providing enough memory room to store the data that are coming in.

Another issue typically linked to data type overflows or stack overflows is program recursion; for instance, when a program calls too many methods or nested processes, it overflows what the system can handle. In some cases, the system simply runs out of memory to handle the demands that are put on it. Overflow error may also occur in situations where older machines or systems are trying to use newer operating systems or applications.

Dealing with overflow errors in development should be a priority for developers. After the fact, companies can issue patches or upgrades to fix overflow error problems.


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Margaret Rouse

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…