How to Fix the “Exception Access Violation” Error on Windows

Angry Man In Front Of A Windows Pc

The “Exception Access Violation” error is a common problem that arises on Windows computers. Although it can be a very frustrating issue to deal with, it is relatively easy to resolve. This tutorial explores the root cause of the error and provides you with easy-to-follow steps to get your computer back up and running smoothly.

Tip: dealing with files you can’t remove? Learn how to delete undeletable files from Windows.

What Is the Exception Access Violation Error?

The “Exception Access Violation” issue is a type of runtime error that occurs when a program tries to access memory that it is not allowed or simply does not have permission to do so. The error can also occur when a program has difficulty getting the right allocation of memory from the available memory.

The “Exception Access Violation” error usually causes the problematic program to freeze or crash amid operation, sending the user back to the desktop. This is typically accompanied by the error message: “Exception Access Violation has occurred. The application will now close.”

What Causes the Exception Access Violation Error?

The Exception Access Violation error can be caused by a myriad of underlying problems, making it difficult to single out one culprit. The error could stem from one or a combination of different backend conflicts on the Windows operating system. Some of the most common reasons for the error include:

  • Corrupt or outdated drivers
  • Faulty RAM
  • Hardware issues
  • Conflicts between different programs
  • Viruses or malware infections
  • Bugs in the problematic program.

Tip: learn what to do if you’ve noticed your Ethernet speed is capped at 100 Mbps in Windows.

How to Fix the Exception Access Violation Error in Windows

Since the error isn’t caused by a single culprit, you may need to try different approaches, depending on the most likely cause of the error. Some of the following methods should help you fix the “Exception Access Violation” error on your Windows computer:

1. Run the Hardware and Device Troubleshooter

The first step is to run the Hardware and Device troubleshooter. This will initiate a troubleshooting process that will check your computer for any hardware-related problems and attempt to fix them.

  1. Press the Windows + R keys to launch the Run dialog box.
  2. In the text box, type msdt.exe -id DeviceDiagnostic and click “OK.”
Running "DeviceDiagnostic" tool in Windows.
  1. In the new Hardware and Devices window, select “Next” and follow the prompts.
Running the Hardware and Device troubleshooter in Windows.
  1. Wait for the diagnostic to scan and fix any hardware-related issue that it encounters.
  1. Restart your computer once the troubleshooter is done and launch the problematic app again.

2. Disable User Account Control

User Account Control (UAC) is a security feature on Windows that helps prevent unauthorized changes to your computer. However, it can sometimes cause conflicts with programs and trigger an “Exception Access Violation” error. Follow the steps below to disable UAC:

  1. Press Windows + R to launch the Run dialogue box.
  2. Type control in the text box and hit the Enter key.
Accessing "Control Panel" from Run window.
  1. Click on “User Accounts.”
Options under Control Panel in Windows.
  1. Click on “User Accounts” again.
  2. Select “Change User Account Control settings.”
Clicking on "Change User Account Control settings" in Control Panel.
  1. Move the slider on the left all the way down to “Never notify” to turn off UAC.
Notification slider under User Account Control Settings.
  1. Restart your computer and check whether you can open the application.

Good to know: want to make your PC run faster? Learn how to stop background apps and processes from running in Windows.

3. Add the App to the Data Execution Prevention (DEP) Exception List

If the previous methods don’t fix the error, check the Data Execution Prevention (DEP) utility. It is a security feature on Windows that helps prevent malicious code from running on your computer.

However, it can sometimes mistake legitimate programs as malware, causing conflicts and leading to the “Exception Access Violation” error. Try adding the problematic app to the utility’s exception list by following the steps below:

  1. Open the Run window.
  2. Type sysdm.cpl in the input field and hit “OK.”
Typing "sydm.cpl" in Run window.
  1. This will open up the System Properties window. Switch to the “Advanced” tab and click the “Settings” button.
Clicking the 'Settings" button in the System Properties window.
  1. In the Performance Options window, switch to the “Data Execution Prevention” tab and select “Turn on DEP for all programs and services except those I select.”
  2. Click on the “Add” button and locate the application causing this error.
Clicking "Add" button in Performance Options window.
  1. Once you have located it, click on “Open -> OK.”
  2. Restart your computer for the changes to take effect.

4. Run the Problematic Application in Compatibility Mode

Sometimes the “Exception Access Violation” error is caused by application compatibility issues. As a result, running the application in compatibility mode may help resolve the problem, especially if the current build of the app wasn’t developed with your version of Windows in mind. To run an app that triggers an Exception Access Violation error in compatibility mode, follow these steps:

  1. Right-click on the problematic application in its installation folder or on your desktop.
  2. Click on “Properties.”
"Compatibility" window in app Properties.
  1. Click on the “Compatibility” tab and check the box that reads “Run this program in compatibility mode for.”
  2. From the drop-down menu, select the version of Windows that the application was originally designed for.
Selecting a Windows version to run an app in compatibility mode.
  1. Click on “Apply -> OK.”
  2. Restart your computer and try running the application again.

5. Check for Viruses and Malware

If you’ve explored several other solutions without any positive results, it could be time to check whether viruses and malware could be responsible.

  1. Press the Windows key and search for “Windows Security.”
  2. Click on the matching result to launch the Windows Security app.
  3. Go to the “Virus and Threat Protection” tab on the left pane and check whether any action is needed.
  4. Alternatively, click the “Virus and Threat Protection” option, then the “Quick Scan” button.
Pressing the "Quick scan" button under "Virus & threat protection."
  1. When the scan is finished, follow the prompts on the screen to get rid of any lingering threats.
  2. Restart your computer and launch the problematic app once again.

Tip: you can also check out our guide on how to remove viruses on your computer without using antivirus software to ensure all virus-related problems are covered.

6. Disconnect Any Newly Connected or Installed Hardware

Newly connected or installed hardware can sometimes cause compatibility issues with your computer, leading to the “Exception Access Violation” error. This is especially true if you just replaced or upgraded your RAM.

To troubleshoot this issue, disconnect any newly connected or installed hardware (if possible) and try running the application again. If the error no longer occurs, you may need to update the drivers for the hardware or reinstall it.

7. Reinstall the App

If all the methods highlighted thus far didn’t resolve the error for you, your best bet is to uninstall the app as a last resort. A fresh installation, coupled with all the steps you’ve followed in this guide, should get you up and running in no time.

  1. Press Windows + I to launch the Settings app.
  2. Click “Apps -> Apps & Features.”
  3. Find the problematic application and click on the three vertical dots next to it, then select “Uninstall” from the options.
Uninstalling apps in Windows.
  1. Follow the prompts to completely uninstall the application.
  2. Restart your computer.
  3. Reinstall the application from the original source.
  4. Try running the application again.

Meanwhile, if you didn’t install the app and are only trying to launch it from a Program Files folder to your computer, delete the folder, reboot your computer and recopy it.

Tip: did you know you can use Windows Package Manager to easily install and update programs? Follow this guide to learn how.

Frequently Asked Questions

How can I avoid getting the "Exception Access Violation" error on my PC?

A good first step is to always keep your operating system up-to-date. Following through with regular updates gives your PC a lot of protection behind the scenes. Also, scan your PC regularly for viruses, ensure you have the latest app versions, and try as much as possible to only download apps from the Microsoft Store or other official sources. You can refer to this list of safe websites to download Windows software.

Is it possible to recover lost data after an "Exception Access Violation" error?

While it is possible to recover lost data after an “Exception Access Violation” error, the outcome depends on the specific circumstances that led to the error, the extent of the data loss, and the application involved. Typically, if the error was caused by a software issue, it will be relatively easier to recover the lost data. However, if the error was caused by a hardware failure, data recovery may be more complicated.

Image credit: Pexels All screenshots by Maxwell Timothy.

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