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How to resolve Runtime Error 203 on Windows 10?

By Emmanuel Dairo | March 3, 2020 |

greater than 9 minutes

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You just launched an application, only to be greeted by Runtime Error 203. No problem, then. You just need to Google online for a fix. But what’s this? There is scant information about this error code on the web, and much of what little there is doesn’t seem to be of much use. Join the club of frustrated users wondering what Runtime Error 203 is and how to get rid of it.

Presumably, your meticulous search for a solution eventually landed you on this page. In that case, count yourself lucky. You will find that this guide is one of the few available updated looks at the nature and causes of Runtime Error 203 and cures for it.

This guide is composed to provide a comprehensive overview of this error and why it occurs on your computer. It used to happen at random prior to Windows 7, but it seemed Microsoft had managed to fix it. As it turned out, perhaps too many bug-fixing eggs were placed in Microsoft’s basket after all. Runtime Error 203 has surfaced on Windows 10, and the results aren’t pretty.

You’re probably reading this because you’ve encountered the error and it has stopped you from installing new software on your system. Not to worry. We’ve got the correct set of fixes for you to try. But before that, it is worth checking out the explanation of what Runtime Error 203 is exactly and why your PC has become a victim.

What Is Runtime Error 203?

On the broad spectrum of issues that affect Windows, Runtime Error 203 is more of a bug than a critical error. It is certainly pretty mild when compared to more serious issues like a blue screen of death. Nonetheless, this error is often a symptom of a deeper problem, and immediate rectification steps should be carried out upon receiving the error alert.

Knowing what a runtime is will bring the point of Runtime Error 203 closer to home. In computer parlance, a runtime is the time duration between the start and end points of a running program. That is, it denotes the time during which the program is being executed. So, the runtime for the Microsoft Word app would be the time between when you launch the app and close the program.

A lot of stuff happens when a program is running. Unless you’re a geek, you don’t really need to know. Most of us just launch a program and start using it without caring a hoot about other things. And this is as it should be.

A runtime error is the result of a program facing issues after being launched. This error surfaces during the program’s execution state or immediately after it. It notifies the user that a situation that aborts the program’s execution has arisen. Sometimes, until the root cause is addressed, the error stays on the computer, preventing the use of applications and the installation of new programs or affecting the user in another way.

What Causes Runtime Error 203 in Windows 10?

Runtime Error 203 might be milder than a typical BSOD, but its possible causes are just as varied. Research done on this error has revealed that it is commonly related to memory issues. This type of cause is more likely to happen on computers with limited memory.

Insofar as it is a specific application that triggers the error, it might be that the available memory on the system is not adequate for the app or program to do the work it does. This may be because other programs are open as well, using up valuable resource space.

If your RAM isn’t in the best of health, it won’t be able to cope with as much load as before. Runtime Error 203 and associated issues might be a sad side effect of hardware aging.

Another cause of the error is having two conflicting programs on your computer. You must have heard the proverb about strange bedfellows. Certain applications can be strange neighbors as well, one not working well while the other is present on the Windows 10 PC. When one stops the other from running properly, you may get Runtime Error 203 for your persistence.

Another strange thing about Windows is its update mechanism. When it comes to Windows Update, the savior is often the tormentor. The update process can bring along extra bugs even as it fixes a few. This especially holds true for unfinished installations or ones not properly removed from the system. Runtime Error 203 can be due to this as well.

Many users have reported that upon checking the registry after the occurrence of this error, they found several corrupt keys. Damage to the registry is always a strong candidate anytime the error happens. The issue might be systemic. For example, the uninstallation of an application might have gone wrong or failed to completely remove all files. Some registry keys might be hanging around in a damaged state. Another possible reason is malware infection. Viruses can target the registry, tinkering with keys and causing damage, of which Runtime Error 203 is just the tip of the iceberg.

Though not as often, obsolete hardware drivers can also trigger the error or worsen its symptoms. This is because the latest drivers are needed for programs that use dedicated hardware on the system. Old versions of these drivers might not be optimized enough to allow multiple programs to work smoothly with the hardware, thus heightening the program conflict.

Irrespective of the cause, certain symptoms should quickly alert you to the likely presence of Runtime Error 203. These include, but are not limited to, the following:

  • Persistent system freezes, especially in certain application windows
  • Random system or application crashes, especially the latter
  • Sluggishness in system performance
  • Issues with starting up the PC
  • Multiple problems during software installation
  • Core system and user applications not working properly

So, how do you solve a problem like Runtime Error 203? Read on.

How to Fix Runtime Error 203 on Windows 10

Once you’ve stumbled on the right cause of your specific Runtime Error 203 issue, it will be a breeze to solve. The issue lies with identifying what is actually causing the error for you. Explained below are a few things you can do to make the issue go away and never return.

Fix 1: Close All Open Programs

Closing all open programs on the system helps to free up your RAM for use by the application that requires it at the moment. It might be a habit to open multiple apps and forget to close them when not in active use, but it can have a negative effect on active applications.

If you notice that the runtime error persists with a certain application, try making it the only one using your RAM and see if that helps. Move your cursor to each open program’s icon on your taskbar, right-click the icon and select Close.

No, you’re not quite done yet. You see, over the years, app developers have perfected the art of making their programs run in the background even when they aren’t visible on your taskbar. Windows, however, beats them at their own game with Device Manager. You can use the resource management applet to quickly note which processes are consuming resources on your system. You can simply end these processes to free up extra RAM, CPU power or network bandwidth.

If you cannot resolve the
problem yourself, you can
ask our certified PC technicians for immediate assistance in the chat right on this page.

So, right-click the Start Menu icon at the bottom left of the Windows 10 desktop and select Task Manager from the menu list. When the window is displayed, note any process that is running in the background and that seems to be consuming an inordinate amount of memory. You know what to do next — right-click the offending program and select End Task.

Do this for all the processes that show a high usage rate, provided they aren’t core Windows processes or related to the app you’re currently working with. If it is a Windows process like Service Host: Local System (Network Restricted), trying to end it might lead to a system restart. Try the option and see if the issue goes away upon a reboot.


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Sometimes, improperly uninstalled apps leave traces in the registry, which can cause havoc if left alone. In fact, registry issues stand near the top of Runtime Error 203 causes. Experts recommend clearing the registry properly to eliminate the problem. However, since tampering with the wrong keys can cause fatal system errors, doing so manually is not recommended. That’s where Auslogics BoostSpeed provides extra benefits. It employs precision tools to carefully remove corrupt keys and invalid entries from the Windows registry, taking care not to damage anything vital.

Fix 2: Check for Updates to Windows 10

If you’re looking for a fix to Runtime Error 203, a system update might be just what the doctor ordered. Updates are a great way to fix whatever is wrong with the system without doing any of the hard work yourself. The latest version of the software usually contains fixes for common glitches discovered on your current version.

System updates also contain enhancements that can boost error resistance in case the problem comes from hardware or applications rather than Windows itself. In other words, performing an update is a low-risk strategy that can net you high rewards. Moreover, you should update the operating system anyway to get the best out of it:

  • Press the Windows key and type Windows Update in the Start Menu.
  • Select the top result.
  • In the Windows Update window, click the Check for Updates button.
  • If any updates are found, Windows will prompt you to commence the download. Do so.

You can schedule the update for a convenient time. Windows will reboot the system and commence the installation. Once done, log back in and check whether Runtime Error 203 still occurs with the application or program. Chances are the update has resolved the issue.

Fix 3: Remove Malware with Auslogics Anti-Malware

Viruses can invade your system and cause damage to sensitive files. They can also make some programs stop working and others report a runtime error each time you launch them. To eradicate such consequences of malware infection, you should run a top-notch professional computer infection removal tool.

Windows Defender is good enough for basic virus scans in Windows 10, but it might not be enough to nab the most complex and sophisticated infections. The best option is to use a tool that fights against not just viruses but spyware, crypto-mining software, Trojans, ransomware, and other types of malware as well.

You don’t need to look beyond Auslogics Anti-Malware. This tool is approved by Microsoft for your system security needs. It can work as your principal security suite or alongside Windows Defender or another antivirus. Running a deep scan with Auslogics Anti-Malware will help you detect malicious items that you never thought existed.

However, always make sure to keep your security software up to date with the latest definitions. As new kinds of malware are being created all the time, doing this helps keep the software ready to combat any new virus that might be damaging your system.

Fix 4: Remove Conflicting Applications

An error can occur during a program’s runtime if it conflicts with another app on the same system. There is a reason some security software warns the user that the program might conflict with another similar program. This is because similar programs often have duplicate processes that affect each other’s functions.

So, if you’re getting the Runtime Error 203 problem when you try to run a certain app, check for similar programs on your computer and remove them. Perhaps the program itself has some bugs causing the issue. Check the developer’s website for any patch or bug fix. If there is a new version of the software, update it as well and see if anything changes.

If that doesn’t work, try uninstalling the program causing the error and using another app to do the same work.

If neither of those works for you, try the next fix.

Fix 5: Update Drivers

Obsolete drivers have been known to frequently cause issues. Apps that directly use hardware need the hardware drivers to be up to date so they can run smoothly. Corruption of a driver can cause runtime issues, such as the one you’re currently trying to solve. Unlike with Stop Errors, it’s seldom easy to pinpoint whichever hardware driver might be responsible. Luckily for you, you don’t need to figure it out. Auslogics Driver Updater will do the hard work for you. Just install the software and scan your system for old, missing and corrupt drivers. From there, it is up to you whether to update the required driver only or by paying a few bucks, bring everything up to date with a single click.

That’s all there is to the Runtime Error 203 repair guide. We hope this article has proved helpful in getting your system running normally again.

Fed up with your slow PC? Tired of waiting for Windows to start up? Take a look at the most common reasons behind poor performance and the best ways to deal with them here.


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