Why Computers Crash

Although crashes caused by hardware are possible, most computer crashes are caused by errors in the OS software.


There are 3 fundamental types of computer program errors that are related to when/how the error is discovered: Compile-time errors, Run-time errors, and “silent” errors.  Runtime errors are the ones that result in crashes that you see as a user.

Software Explained

List from Quora

  1. Null Pointer Exception
  2. Function has bad inputs
  3. Read/write past boundaries of an array or tap into a non-existent array
  4. Write to a string that doesn’t have memory allocated (like #3)
  5. Pointer doesn’t point to a valid place
  6. Files or ports or connection handles are bad — in which case we use defensive programming to prepare for worse case
  7. Something mathematical is wrong like divide by zero
  8. Code is trying to extend beyond its system permissions
  9. System is out of memory
  10. Memory leaks are causing #9
  11. Bad library — bug introduced from other code
  12. Malicious hackers have taken over your computer

List from MakeUseOf that is more hardware-y

  1. Bad memory or motherboard
  2. BIOS settings at hardware level
  3. Corrupt registry
  4. Incorrect or corrupt drivers
  5. Hard drive issues
  6. Hardware conflicts
  7. Virus
  8. Power issues
  9. Overheating

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