Error: ArcMap.exe has encountered an error and needs to close. We apologize for the inconvenience

Error Message

ArcMap or ArcCatalog randomly crashes and Windows returns one of the error messages shown below:

"ArcMap.exe has encountered an error and needs to close. We apologize for the inconvenience."
"The instruction at 0x000xx00 referenced memory at 0x000000. The memory could not be 'read'. Click OK to terminate the program."

The instructions provided in this article address general solutions that may help avoid the above errors.


This error can be caused by one or more system conflicts.

If this error occurs when performing a specific operation, check the Related Information section below for an article that addresses the situation. If the instructions in this article do not resolve the problem, and there is not an article related to your issue, please contact ESRI Support Services.

Solution or Workaround

The following is a list of the most common solutions to this error. Please note that this is a general Windows error that has many causes and many solutions. Contrary to the error message, there is no log file created.

  • Rename the Normal template for the application that generates the error:
  1. Close any ArcCatalog or ArcMap sessions that are running.
  2. Start Windows Explorer. The location of the user profile depends on the operating system:
On Windows 2000, Windows 2003 Server or Windows XP, browse to:
C:\Documents and Settings\<user name>\Application Data\ESRI
On Windows Vista, 7, 8 and Windows 10, browse to:
C:\Users\<user name>\AppData\Roaming\ESRI
The Application Data or AppData folder is hidden by default. If this folder is not visible, navigate to Tools > Folder Options > View tab, and select the option to show hidden files and folders.
  1. Open the folder for the component of ArcGIS, ArcCatalog or ArcMap that is generating the error message.
  2. Each component of the software has a template that stores settings and customizations for that part of ArcGIS. These are:
    • ArcCatalog: normal.gxt
    • ArcMap: normal.mxt, stored in the Templates folder
    • ArcToolbox: arctoolbox.dat
  3. Rename the file, for example, OLDNORMAL.GXT. When that component of ArcGIS is started again, a new template is created. This resolves many problems with ArcGIS software.
  • Change the TEMP Environment Variable for Windows:
  1. Verify the following user variables are set:
Variable: TMP Value: <drive>:\TEMP
Variable: TEMP Value: <drive>:\TEMP
  1. Set the environment variable based on the operating system.
  • Clean out the TEMP directory

The original path for the user variables TEMP and TMP depends on the operating system:
Windows 2000, Windows 2003 Server, and Windows XP:

C:\Documents and Settings\<your_user_name>\Local Settings\Temp

Windows Vista, 7, 8 and Windows 10:

C:\Users\<your user name>\AppData\Local\Temp

This directory can become filled with hundreds or thousands of files and folders.

After resetting TEMP and TMP as described in the previous step and rebooting the computer, go to the original TEMP directory at the path above and delete all of the files and folders. Deleting the files in the new TEMP directory on a regular basis is also recommended to maintain good performance.

  • Verify that a default printer is installed:
    Check that the default printer is a valid, working printer by doing a test print. If the default printer is on a network, be sure there is access to that printer. If no printers are installed, use the following steps to install a dummy default printer.
    How To: Create a 'dummy' printer and set it to be the default printer for Windows
  • Remove any customizations, add-on scripts, and third-party extensions for ArcGIS and unregister any custom DLLs that may be present:
    If removing all customizations fixes the problem, then the customizations can be added back in one at a time to determine which one is causing the problem.
Methods to remove customizations vary depending on the customization type. Contact the vendor or author of the customization to determine the best method.
  • Maximize the virtual memory for the operating system:
    Verify that a minimum of 500 MB of virtual memory is present. The initial and maximum size can be set as high as twice the computer's RAM, up to 4GB or approximately 4096 MB.
    How To: Change the operating system's virtual memory settings
  • Verify that the operating system and the Microsoft Data Access Components are up-to-date:
    Check the Microsoft Windows Update Web page, linked in the Related Information section below, to check for updates.
    Download and install the latest Microsoft Data Access Components (MDAC) available. Use the MDAC Utility, Component Checker, to determine if this is necessary. Refer to the links in the Related Information section below.
  • Run a repair of the ArcGIS Desktop software
  1. Insert the ArcGIS Desktop or ArcView installation CD or DVD, or skip to Step 3 if the software was installed from a network administrative install.
  2. Click Exit.
  3. Open the Windows Control Panel and click Programs and Features.
  4. Under Uninstall or change a program, highlight the ArcGIS Desktop version and click the Change button. Select Repair and follow the prompts.

Related Information