ArcGIS Desktop has encountered a serious application error

Last Published: October 1, 2021

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 article pertains to ArcGIS versions 10.0. Later versions of ArcGIS may contain different functionality, as well as different names and locations for menus, commands and geoprocessing tools. For more information on graphics cards, refer to ArcMap: FAQs for selecting graphics cards.

To resolve this error for versions 10.5 and above, refer to Error: ArcGIS Desktop has encountered a serious application error....


This error occurs on machines using certain versions of the ATI Radeon video card driver (for example, versions When OpenGL routines are called during the opening of ArcMap, the video card driver attempts to create or write to the C:\moduleName.txt file. By default, only administrators have write access to the root of the C:\ drive. Therefore, the driver cannot write to this file, and it leads to the ArcMap crash.

Solution or Workaround

As a workaround, upgrade to a newer ATI Radeon driver.

Alternatively, change the permissions on the C:\moduleName.txt file so users have modification rights to this file.

  1. ​Double-click My Computer.
  2. Double-click the C: drive.
  3. Right-click the moduleName.txt file and select Properties.
  4. In the Properties dialog, click the Security tab.
  5. Click the Users group to highlight it.
  6. Check the check box next to Modify under Allow.
  7. Click OK.

Article ID:000011095

  • ArcReader
  • ArcMap 10 x

Get help from ArcGIS experts

Contact technical support

Download the Esri Support App

Go to download options

Related Information

Discover more on this topic