Corrupted Normal.gxt file generates 'FATAL ERROR'

Last Published: April 25, 2020

Error Message

A fatal error occurs in ArcCatalog after clicking the Add button in the Choose Reference Data dialog box when looking for a shapefile to use as reference data.


This error can occur if the Normal.gxt file is corrupted.

Solution or Workaround

To resolve this problem, rename or delete the existing Normal.gxt file. ArcCatalog creates a new Normal.gxt file upon start up, if one does not exist.

1. If VBA code has been added to Normal.gxt, export the affected modules.


You can use the Visual Basic for Applications (VBA) editor to write VBA code that you can execute from within ArcMap or ArcCatalog. This code is stored inside the Normal.mxt file (for ArcMap) or the Normal.gxt file (for ArcCatalog). You can export your code to Visual Basic modules, which you can import into other Visual Basic or VBA projects.


  1. In the Project window in the VBA editor, click the module you want to export.
  2. Click File, then click Export File.
    [O-Image] Export VBA module
  3. Navigate to the folder where you want to store the Visual Basic Module and click Save.

2. Exit ArcCatalog.

3. Navigate to the folder that contains the Normal.gxt file. In Windows NT, this file is located under:

  C:\winnt\profiles\<your user name>\Application Data\ESRI\ArcCatalog\ 

In Windows 2000, this file is located under:

  C:\Documents and Settings\<your user name>\Application Data\ESRI\ArcCatalog

4. Rename the existing Normal.gxt file.

Deleting the Normal.gxt file causes a loss of customizations that were made in ArcCatalog, including VBA code.

5. Start ArcCatalog.

6. If VBA code was exported in step 1, import it into the new Normal.gxt file.


You can import code you created in other VBA projects into your Normal.mxt file or Normal.gxt file.


  1. In the VBA editor, click File, then click Import File.
    [O-Image] Import VBA module
  2. Navigate to the Visual Basic module file you want to import and click Open.

Article ID:000003479

  • ArcMap 8 x

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