Problem: Cannot start ArcCatalog or ArcScene


When trying to start ArcCatalog or ArcScene, a splash screen is briefly displayed without opening the application, or one of these messages appears:

"ArcCatalog.exe or ArcScene.exe has generated errors and will be closed by Windows."

"The instruction at 'xxxxxx' referenced memory at 'xxxxxx'. The memory could not be read."


The video graphics driver is not loaded properly or is not compatible with ArcGIS 8.1.

Solution or Workaround

Steps 1 and 2 are to verify the cause of the error you receive when opening the application.

Steps 3-5 are possible resolutions to the application error.

The instructions below include making changes to essential parts of your operating system. It is recommended that you backup your operating system and files, including the registry, before proceeding. Consult with a qualified computer systems professional, if necessary.

Esri cannot guarantee results from incorrect modifications while following these instructions; therefore, use caution and proceed at your own risk.
  1. Change Display Properties to 256 colors.
    Windows NT / 2000
    1. Start > Settings > Control Panel
    2. Double Click on the Display Icon
    3. In the Display Properties window select the Settings Tab
    4.  Select the Color Palette (NT) or Colors (2000) drop down menu and then select 256 colors from the list.
    5. Click on Apply and then OK
  2. Start ArcCatalog or ArcScene.
    If ArcCatalog or ArcScene starts up, it is most likely a graphics card issue. 
  3. Reapply or update the graphics card driver.
    You can download the driver from your PC or graphics card manufacturer's Web site. 
  4. Reapply or update your Windows Service Pack.
    See Microsoft's Web site or contact your system administrator. 
  5. If the above steps do not resolve the ArcCatalog or ArcScene start up problem, remove the 3D Analyst extension.