Browse Definitions :
Definition

soft error

Contributor(s): Matthew Haughn

A soft error is an issue that causes a temporary condition in RAM that alters stored data in an unintended way.

Errors that change data stored in RAM are either soft errors or hard errors, which result from a hardware failure. Soft errors can be further divided into chip-level errors and system-level errors.

Chip-level errors are rare events in which a radioactive element in the memory chip decays, releasing a proton. If the proton strikes a memory cell, it can alter the value that the cell contains. Even cosmic rays can cause this phenomenon from time to time. System-level errors may be caused by power issues, running out of specification (overclocked too far, for example) and software issues that occur when memory is written to incorrectly.

Soft errors are caused by events rather than a persistent physical condition, as is the case with hard errors. While they can be frustrating, soft errors are generally resolved by a reboot. Sometimes, however, these issues recur because of a persistent software issue or a problematic setting.  Without careful testing, a soft error caused by persistent issues can be misinterpreted as a hard error.

Attempts to write to protected memory space reserved by another program or the operating system always create errors and are a typical cause of a blue screen of death (BSOD).

This was last updated in July 2015

Continue Reading About soft error

Start the conversation

Send me notifications when other members comment.

Please create a username to comment.

-ADS BY GOOGLE

File Extensions and File Formats

SearchCompliance

  • compliance audit

    A compliance audit is a comprehensive review of an organization's adherence to regulatory guidelines.

  • regulatory compliance

    Regulatory compliance is an organization's adherence to laws, regulations, guidelines and specifications relevant to its business...

  • Whistleblower Protection Act

    The Whistleblower Protection Act of 1989 is a law that protects federal government employees in the United States from ...

SearchSecurity

  • brute force attack

    Brute force (also known as brute force cracking) is a trial and error method used by application programs to decode encrypted ...

  • spyware

    Spyware is software that is installed on a computing device without the user's knowledge. Spyware can be difficult to detect; ...

  • ATM black box attack

    An ATM black box attack, also referred to as jackpotting, is a type of banking-system crime in which the perpetrators bore holes ...

SearchHealthIT

SearchDisasterRecovery

  • business continuity and disaster recovery (BCDR)

    Business continuity and disaster recovery (BCDR) are closely related practices that describe an organization's preparation for ...

  • warm site

    A warm site is a type of facility an organization uses to recover its technology infrastructure when its primary data center goes...

  • disaster recovery (DR) test

    A disaster recovery test (DR test) is the examination of each step in a disaster recovery plan as outlined in an organization's ...

SearchStorage

  • disk array

    A disk array, also called a storage array, is a data storage system used for block-based storage, file-based storage or object ...

  • enterprise storage

    Enterprise storage is a centralized repository for business information that provides common data management, protection and data...

  • optical storage

    Optical storage is any storage type in which data is written and read with a laser. Typically, data is written to optical media, ...

Close