An illegal operation is an action or command sent by a running computer program to your Windows OS or computer’s processor that isn’t understood by Windows or your CPU, and subsequently can’t be executed. When a program has this problem, the Windows OS typically cuts off the application that tried to execute the unknown command and gives you an ‘illegal operation’ error message.
Basically, it’s the equivalent of asking someone who doesn’t speak your language to go to the store and pick up some milk. If they can’t understand what you’re saying, they obviously can’t go and get what you need. In the technical application, the program you’re trying to run needs milk, and your operating system doesn’t speak the program’s language. The end result is Windows telling you it doesn’t understand what the program is saying via an error message dialog box.
Unfortunately, any unsaved work you may have been in the middle of will likely be lost. In some cases, newer programs have a recovery feature that may help you retrieve it.
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Often, Illegal operation errors are caused by bugs in a software program’s source code, and less often, in the operating system itself. Occasionally, a rare combination of system events can lead to an illegal operation error message.
You may or may not be able to replicate the illegal operation error message, so they can be difficult to troubleshoot manually. If the program is still operational in the background despite the illegal operation error message dialog box, you may be able to continue working and even save your work via the ‘File’ menu. If your system is hung, a reboot will likely be required.
Trying the application again sometimes works, but often the illegal operation error message appears again at a different stage while re-running the program.
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