Difference between Exception and Error

Both exceptions and errors are used to handle and manage exceptional situations or unexpected events that occur during the execution of a program. While they are similar in some ways, there are notable differences between exceptions and errors in terms of their nature, handling, and impact on the program.


  1. Exception: An exception is an object that represents an exceptional or abnormal condition or event that occurs during the execution of a program. Exceptions are typically caused by runtime errors, invalid input, or exceptional circumstances that prevent the normal flow of program execution.
  2. Error: An error, also known as a system error or runtime error, refers to an unrecoverable or severe issue that occurs in the system or environment where the program is running. Errors are usually caused by issues like hardware failures, memory corruption, or stack overflow, and they indicate a critical failure that cannot be resolved within the program itself.


  1. Exception: Exceptions are designed to be caught and handled by the program. They provide a mechanism for gracefully recovering from exceptional situations, allowing the program to continue executing without terminating abruptly. Exceptions can be caught and handled using try-catch blocks, allowing developers to handle specific types of exceptions and take appropriate actions.
  2. Error: Errors, on the other hand, are generally not meant to be caught and handled by the program. They indicate severe issues that typically require system-level intervention or debugging. Errors are often fatal and can cause the program to terminate abruptly. In most cases, errors are handled at a higher level, such as the operating system or runtime environment.

Impact on Program

  1. Exception: Exceptions have a localized impact on the program. When an exception occurs, the program's flow is interrupted, and the runtime searches for an appropriate exception handler to handle the exception. If an exception is not caught and handled, it propagates up the call stack until it reaches an appropriate catch block or, if unhandled, causes the program to terminate.
  2. Error: Errors have a broader impact on the program and the system. They often indicate critical failures that affect the entire system or environment. When an error occurs, it may result in the termination of the program, abnormal system behavior, or the need to restart the application or the system itself.
Example | Exception
try { int result = Divide(10, 0); // This will throw an exception Console.WriteLine(result); } catch (DivideByZeroException ex) { Console.WriteLine("Error: Cannot divide by zero"); // Handle the exception } int Divide(int dividend, int divisor) { if (divisor == 0) throw new DivideByZeroException(); return dividend / divisor; }
Example | Error
int[] array = new int[int.MaxValue]; // This will throw an OutOfMemoryError // The program will terminate due to the critical error


Exceptions are used to handle and recover from exceptional conditions within the program, while errors indicate severe system-level issues that may require external intervention. Exceptions are caught and handled by the program, while errors are typically handled at a higher level. Proper exception handling is an essential practice in C# to ensure robust and reliable software.