Opening an existing map document (.mxd file) may result in 'Runtime Error! abnormal program termination'

Last Published: March 9, 2021

Error Message

This article pertains to ArcGIS versions 8.x only. Later versions of ArcGIS may contain different functionality, as well as different names and locations for menus, commands and geoprocessing tools.

Opening an existing map document (.mxd file) produces the following error message:

Runtime Error!
Program D:\arcexe80\bin\ArcMap.exe
abnormal program termination

Clicking OK returns a second error message:

The instruction at "Ox1003aac7 referenced memory at "OxO17aOae4".
The memory could not be "read".
Click on OK to terminate the application.


A common cause for this error is a broken link to a picture. A link is broken if Insert > Picture is used in ArcMap to add a picture to the map document; and after closing the map document the picture file is deleted, renamed, or moved to another folder.

Solution or Workaround

Restore the name of the picture file and/or move it back to the appropriate location. The map document should open.

If the picture file has been deleted, and it cannot be restored, create a placeholder file with the appropriate name and in the appropriate location. After the map document opens, make the necessary changes to it.

If after doing this the error persists, call Esri Support Services.

Article ID:000002279

  • ArcMap 8 x

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