Error: ArcGIS Desktop has encountered a serious application error...

Error Message

When launching ArcMap, the following error is returned:

"ArcGIS Desktop has encountered a serious application error..."

This error occurs if the user is not a member of the local Windows Administrators group. If the user is a member of the Administrators group, ArcMap launches successfully.


This error occurs on machines using certain versions of the ATI Radeon video card driver (ex v6.14.10.6719). When OpenGL routines are called during the opening of ArcMap, the video card driver attempts to create and/or write to the C:\moduleName.txt file. By default, since only Administrators have write access to the root of the C:\ drive, the driver cannot write to this file, and it causes ArcMap to crash.

Solution or Workaround

As a workaround, there are two options.

  • Upgrade to a newer ATI Radeon driver
  • Change the permissions on the C:\moduleName.txt file so users have modify rights to this file

    A. Double-click My Computer.
    B. Double-click C: drive.
    C. Right-click the moduleName.txt file and select Properties.
    D. In the Properties dialog, click the Security tab.
    E. Click the Users group to highlight it.
    F. Put a check-mark next to Modify under Allow.
    G. Click OK.