Why Does a C Program Exit with a Return Code of 0xC00000FD? How to Solve and Fix

Ever faced this weird error 0xC00000FD in C program? This article explains why it occurs and how you can fix it.

A C program is a collection of functions and global variables. When a C program is run, the operating system loads the program into memory and executes it. The execution starts from main() function. After the end of main(), the program stops its execution and returns control to the operating system.

However, for some reason if your program exits with a return code of 0xC00000FD, that means stack overflow has occurred.

What is Stack Overflow?

The stack is a temporary storage area used by functions during their execution. It stores information like function parameters, return address etc. A stack overflow occurs when the memory allowance for that particular function gets exhausted due to excessive usage.

Ever seen a C program exit with a return code of 0xC00000FD? Is this some sort of an error code? Yes, this is an error code returned by the operating system when it encounters an exception. In other words, 0xC00000FD is not an error code for the program but for the OS.

0xC00000FD signifies that there was a stack overflow and the OS terminated your application. In simple words, this means that your stack has run out of space. This can occur if you have very deeply nested recursion or if you run out of heap memory while allocating local variables on stack.

In technical terms, here’s what happens: When a function is called, its arguments are pushed on to the stack in reverse order along with its return address. The function then uses the stack to store local variables (including arrays, structs or unions). All this happens inside the Stack Segment.

When the function returns, it pops these values off again and continues execution at the return address, which points back into text segment where the original function resides.

Now if during execution of any function, it tries to push more data onto the stack than the amount of space available for the stack (or there is no more

The return code 0xC00000FD is returned when the stack pointer (ESP) points outside the stack segment. This can happen if the value of SP is changed to point outside the range of your allocated stack space.

This can occur in functions where you declare [local] variables. The local variables are allocated on the stack, and decrease the amount of available memory on your stack. If you call functions with many local variables, these variables may cause a stack overflow, which will result in a return code of 0xC00000FD.

If you are using Windows, it is likely that you have encountered a return code of 0xC00000FD. This is a common error code that occurs and the message associated with it reads, “Stack overflow”.

This error occurs when the stack pointer exceeds the stack limit. The stack limit can be set by calling SetThreadStackGuarantee function. The default value of stack limit on Windows 7 and above is 1 MB; lower versions of Windows have a default value of 512 KB.

What happens during an error?

There are situations when your program aborts with the error code 0xC00000FD. This article is about the error code 0xC00000FD. We will cover some of its causes and how to solve it.

What is Error Code 0xC00000FD?

Error Code 0xC00000FD is a run-time error code which indicates that a stack overflow has occurred. This error code comes up in the following situations:

You are using a recursive function and exceed the stack space allocated for your thread. The default stack size in Visual Studio 2008 and later versions is 1 MB.

You have declared too many local variables inside a function or block of code.

You have declared too many arguments inside a function or passed arguments with large sizes to functions.

Your call depth has exceeded the maximum call depth set by your operating system (OS).

When a program is compiled, the compiler creates a header that includes the memory address of the first instruction in the program. The entry point is stored at 0x00400000, which is hexadecimal 40, or decimal 64. A program execution starts at this address and continues until it ends or crashes.

When a process starts, Windows allocates memory for it to use. Each process has its own address space and cannot access or modify another process’s memory. This prevents programs from crashing the system by overwriting important code and data structures. When an application attempts to access memory outside of its allocated area, Windows raises an exception and then terminates the offending process.

The return code of 0xC00000FD indicates that the process tried to stack more data on top of its stack segment before it overflowed and crashed (i.e., it tried to exceed its memory limit).

There are two main reasons for this error:

1. Your program has a bug. Stack overflow can be caused by recursion (a function calling itself), unterminated loops, or other problems in your code.

2. Your program requires more memory than what has been allocated for it. For example, if your program uses large arrays,

A customer of mine recently faced an issue with a Windows Server 2008 application server where the w3svc service would not start. The error in the system event log was:

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