Crash to desktop

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A crash to desktop is a computer program crash which is said to occur when a program (commonly a video game) unexpectedly quits, abruptly taking the user back to the desktop. Usually, the term is applied only to crashes where no error is displayed, hence all the user sees as a result of the crash is the desktop. Many times there is no apparent action that causes a crash to desktop. During normal function, the program may freeze for a shorter period of time, and then close by itself. Also during normal function, the program may become a black screen and play the last few seconds of sound (depending on the size of the data buffer) that was being played repeatedly before it crashes to desktop. Other times it may appear to be triggered by a certain action, such as loading an area.

Crash to desktop bugs are considered particularly problematic for users. Since they frequently display no error message, it can be very difficult to track down the source of the problem, especially if the times they occur and the actions taking place right before the crash do not appear to have any pattern or common ground. One way to track down the source of the problem for games is to run them in windowed-mode. Windows Vista has a feature that can help track down the cause of a CTD problem when it occurs on any program.[clarification needed] Windows XP included a similar feature as well.[clarification needed]

Some computer programs, such as StepMania and BBC's Bamzooki, also crash to desktop if in full-screen, but displays the error in a separate window when the user has returned to the desktop. Crashes are usually caused by website failure or system failure.[citation needed]

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