Note: The content in 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.
Saving your edits after deleting a large number of features from a shapefile may cause ArcMap to fail.
This is a known issue.
This issue was resolved in ArcGIS Version 8.1.2. Esri recommends upgrading to a supported version.