Error: Failed to execute (Dissolve)

Error Message

The Dissolve tool in ArcMap is unable to run successfully. A generic error may be returned:


This issue may occur due to one of the following causes:

• The feature exceeds the resources needed for processing. The geoprocessing tools have a processing limit of two million vertices.

• An output file name starts with or contains invalid characters such as hyphens, spaces, brackets, or other special characters. Esri follows the same naming conventions and limitations as Microsoft, hence ArcGIS considers special characters as invalid.

• The Dissolve tool is run on a joined table. The join is not permanent.

• Invalid geometry due to self-intersections with the original geometry. For more information on checking the validity of geometry, refer to the following ArcGIS Web Help topic: Check Geometry (Data Management)

• The tool cannot find the input or output path, or there is restricted access to the path or missing folder privileges.

• The MXD is corrupt.

• There is a memory limitation on the machine. The availability of physical memory may limit the amount of input features that can be processed.

Solution or Workaround

Use one of the following solutions to resolve this issue:

  • When processing large features or features with a lot of vertices (also known as Godzillas), ensure the processing required does not exceed the resources available. To manage these features, break the data into smaller segments before running the Dissolve tool.

    For more information on managing Godzillas, refer to the following Esri Blog page: Dicing Godzillas (features with too many vertices).
  • Remove the invalid special characters and spaces from the file names before running the Dissolve tool. Although spaces are accepted in an output shapefile name, it is recommended to only use numbers, letters, and underscores when naming shapefiles, feature classes, and fields.
  • Export the layer as a new shapefile to make the join permanent. For more information on exporting a layer, refer to the following ArcGIS Web Help page: Exporting a query layer.
  • Run the Repair Geometry tool to fix the incorrect geometry. For more information on repairing geometries, refer to the following ArcGIS Web Help page: Repair Geometry (Data Management).
  • Ensure the input and output path directory is valid and accessible.
  • If the MXD file is corrupt, it is recommended to rebuild the map document.
  • Perform the processing on a 64-bit computer with more RAM or reduce the computer memory usage so the machine can provide more memory space for the process to run. Disabling the background geoprocessing can free up the computer resources. For more information on disabling background geoprocessing, refer to the following ArcGIS Web Help page: Foreground and background geoprocessing.

Related Information