Fixing ‘Fatal error – Exception in exception handler’ in Windows 10

February 26, 2018 |

greater than 8 minutes

What really happened when you tried to launch a game or application but you received the error message “FATAL ERROR: Exception in exception handler”? The games or the programs ending up failing to work as expected, right? And the game or application still refused to run properly regardless of what you did.

We gathered through the research of gaming forums that the popular games afflicted by this error include C&C 3 Tiberium Wars, Command & Conquer 3: Kane’s Wrath, The Lord of the Rings: The Battle for Middle-earth II and so. Never mind games, some users even encountered this error while trying to launch programs or open files with applications like AutoCAD.

This error tends to occur on systems (laptops and desktops) using Intel graphics cards. This is why it is no surprise that games or applications that require a certain level of graphical processing power are the programs involved with this error.

Understanding a problem is certainly key to finding a solution for it. We would provide some basic and valuable knowledge about the content of the error message “FATAL ERROR: Exception in exception handle”.

What is fatal exception?

  • Fatal Exception is a computer error message that denotes the occurrence of an exceptional situation and requires that the program responsible for that condition be closed.

Software communicates in layers through errors and exceptions. A fatal exception occurs when a program is given a valid or unknown exception.

An exception is an unexpected unique condition that alters the usual flow of the execution of a program. When the event that a program cannot deal with occurs during execution of the program, an exception is created.

Since programs cannot handle exceptions, they are supposed to be solved by the system user (the human in control). An unhandled exception is an exception for which you have provided no solution or code.

What is an exception handler?

  • An exception handler is a code or series of instructions that states what a program should do when its flow or execution is disrupted by an anomalous event.

Fatal Error (also known as the fatal exception error) is an error that forces the termination of an application abruptly- the program is not allowed to save its data before its abortion. The user is simply returned to his operating system screen and the whole process happens without a warning.

You simply cannot recover from a fatal error when it occurs because your operating system has encountered a situation it cannot resolve. One of the following in most cases result in fatal errors:

  • An attempt of an invalid or illegal instruction
  • Communication with an invalid piece of data or code
  • Absence of privileges for a specific operation

A fatal error is generally due to faulty hardware, bugs and/or some unknown anomalies.When a fatal exception occurs, it means the exception involved could not be handled so that the program could ontinue to run.

With this explanation of several necessary terms, you can easily infer what is meant by “FATAL ERROR: Exception in exception handler”. It means a fatal error occurred and even the exception handler has experienced an execution.

How to fix Fatal Error: exception handler in Windows 10

Now we would outline solutions that should end your troubles with “FATAL ERROR: Exception in exception handler” when you try to open a game or application.

Try to run the game or application in Compatibility Mode:

Running software in compatibility mode involves the program emulating an older version of itself or the imitation of an old operating system in order to allow the incompatible applications or files to become compatible with a recent version of computer’s hardware and/or software.

Most programs that run on Windows 7 or Windows 8 should work properly on Windows 10. However, some programs (a good number of them are the ones made for Windows Vista and Windows XP), might fail to work as expected or might run not as smoothly. Running them in compatibility mode is the required fix for this problem.

This fix is related to the fact that most users encountered the error message with games that were already old.

Users, who encountered the error message with steams games generally had success with this fix. To run a game or application in compatibility mode, follow these instructions:

  • Launch File Explorer. Navigate to the game’s folder and locate the game file. The game file usually ends with .exe. Alternatively, you can do this from the app’s shortcut
  • Right-click on this file or shortcut. Select Properties from the list of options
  • Click on the Compatibility tab
  • Select the Run this in compatibility mode option
  • Choose Windows 8. Click on Apply and OK to save changes
  • Now try to open to the game or program involved again. If the error reoccurs, perform the steps above again but this time choose Windows 7 and see if you have success with it. You can also use the compatibility troubleshooter located in the compatibility tab. If your problem remains unresolved, please move on to the next fix.

Check your drivers:

First, you should ensure all your system drivers are updated and working properly.

Right-click on the Windows icon and select Device Manager to view your drivers.

Updating drivers manually is a tedious task, as it involves identifying the outdated drivers and finding the required replacements. You could have several outdated drivers. Finding replacements for these drivers might require that you know your system’s model or number and that you also browse through your manufacturer’s webpage or search the web in general for the latest drivers.

What is stopping you letting a superb program do all the hard work for you? Auslogics Driver Updater would update all your drivers with a single click. It would scan your computer for driver issues in order to provide you with a detailed report on missing or outdated drivers. The option to update these drivers to their respective latest or recommended versions will also be provided to you.

After updating your drivers, restart your system. Try to reopen the affected game or application and see what effect your work has had. Move on if nothing changes.

Install required DirectX files:

Although it is pretty cool to use the latest itineration or version of a program, some games simply run better with older DirectX versions.

Some users claimed they were able to stop the error “FATAL ERROR: Exception in exception handler” from appearing by installing DirectX End-User Runtimes 2010.Download it directly from Microsoft. Try to uncheck unnecessary programs or files that have been attached to this download package. The main file should be named directx_Jun2010_redist.exe.

After the download is complete, run the necessary files to begin their installation. You might need to extract the DirectX Redistributable package to a folder you can find easily. Once the extraction is complete, navigate to that folder and run the DXSETUP.exe file.

Use your dedicated graphics card:

This error message is widely reported as an issue with Intel graphics cards. The Intel graphics cards involved, which include graphics cards like Intel HD graphics 4400, Intel HD graphics 4600 and so on, are generally integrated graphics cards. Most medium to high-end systems are equipped with a dedicated graphics card, the most popular of the lot being those made by NVIDIA and AMD.

You can actually avoid this error by ensuring your system runs the game or application (associated with the error message), using your dedicated graphics card instead of the Intel card. You can also do this by completely disabling the Intel graphics card.

This is how to run a game or app directly with the NVIDIA graphics card:

  • Locate the installation folder of the game or app. Right-click on the main file (usually ends with .exe)
  • Click on Run with graphics processor (High-performance NVIDIA processor) and observe what happens

Alternatively, follow these steps if you have an NVIDIA card:

  • Right-click on the Windows icon and select NVIDIA control panel from the list of programs
  • Click on Manage 3D Settings to expand it
  • If you want to change the settings for a single program, click on Program Settings and do the necessary. Otherwise, click on Global settings. The Global settings is the option that forces the system to use a specified setting for all programs
  • Choose High-performance NVIDIA processor as your preferred graphics processor
  • Click on the Apply button to save the changes you have just made.

Now try restarting the game or application associated with “FATAL ERROR: Exception in exception handler” and verify if your problem has been resolved.

Try to switch off the Origin In-Game setting:

This fix is directed at users running games through the Origin platform. Based on some claims, the exception in exception handler error was resolved by switching off the Origin In-Game setting.

Follow these simple steps to switch off the Origin In-Game setting:

  • Locate the Origin client and launch it
  • Navigate to Applications Settings in the Origin menu
  • Click on the tab for Origin In-Game
  • Switch off the Enable Origin In-Game setting. Move on to other fixes described in this article if this setting is already off.

Return to old Intel drivers:

The reports made by a large number of users who were already frustrated with the error issue confirmed downgrading their drivers to 2014 versions (or versions predating the year 2014) had solved their problems.

Our preferred driver for this fix is the one for Intel HD Graphics 4400. Download Intel HD Graphics 4400 drivers here. Note that you need to know your system platform and other details in order to download the driver suitable for your PC. Also, ensure that you know the location of the downloaded drivers.

Install the downloaded drivers by doing the following:

  • Right-click on the Windows icon and select Device Manger from the list of options
  • Expand the Display adapter category by double-clicking on it
  • Locate Intel HD Graphics, right-click on it and select Update drive from the list of available options
  • Click on Browse my computer for driver software
  • Click on the Let me pick from a list of device drivers located on my computer option located at the bottom of the window
  • Click on Have Disk
  • Click on Browse. Now find the location of the drivers you have just downloaded
  • After locating it, click on Open. Click on OK and finally click on Next to install the driver
  • After the installation is completed, you might be prompted with a message requesting you restart your PC. Save any important work and restart your PC

If your problems persist even after installing this old driver, then you should reinstall the latest drivers for your system. The latest drivers tend to be better than older versions. Compromising on the graphics performance of your system for a fix that did not even work for you is certainly not worth it.

Use extreme methods:

If by now you have not been able to solve your problem, using the simple procedures described above, then it is unlikely that a basic fix is the solution to your issues. This time we recommend that you try advanced procedures to solve the fatal error problem. We, however, prefer to call these procedures workarounds instead of solutions as they tinker too much with things.

If there was a point in time when your game ran fine, then you can return to that point in time, using System Restore. Restore points can be created manually but are normally formed when you install a new software or update windows. To perform System Restore, do the following:

  • Press the Windows key or click on the Windows icon
  • Input Control Panel into the available search bar and launch the required program
  • Click on Recovery. Select Open System Restore. Click on Next
  • Select a reasonable restore point. Click on Next after doing this.
  • Finally, click on Finish

If you cannot find restore points, then you might need to turn on System Protection to make them appear:

  • Launch Control Panel and navigate to Recovery once more
  • Select Configure System Restore. Select Configure and ensure Turn on system protection is selected

If you did not have issues with Fatal error or the exception in exception handler when your PC was running an older version of Windows (Windows 8.1, Windows 8 or Windows 7), then reinstallation of that version (although extreme) might become your last resort if all else fails you. Here you can find instructions on doing this and details of other advanced procedures.

Sometimes you can only deal with errors as frustrating as “FATAL ERROR: Exception in exception handler” with extreme methods. We hope that your efforts will not end up in vain. Good luck!


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