In this article, we will be discussing about the error message “SQL Server is Terminating Because of Fatal Exception 80000003” and how to troubleshoot it.
In more detail, the error message to talk about is:
SQL Server is terminating due to fatal exception 80000003. This error can be caused by an unhandled Win32 or C ++ exception, or by an access violation encountered during exception handling. Check the SQL error log for related stack dumps or messages. This exception forces a shutdown of SQL Server. To recover from this error, restart the server (unless SQLAgent is configured to restart automatically).
What does this error mean?
This error means that the SQL Server process has been terminated. In the case of a failover cluster, most probably, the SQL Server service will be terminated and started again the Cluster Manager.
The “Fatal Exception 80000003” error, is typically caused by heap corruption.
However, since SQL Server does not allocate memory from its heap, that means that the root cause for the corruption is something else.
The role of third-party modules
Based on the above, there can be other entities that may cause heap corruption and thus get the “Fatal Exception 80000003” error.
Such entities can be for example linked servers that use third-party drivers, as well as any other DLLs that may be loaded in SQL Server.
How to troubleshoot the error
A useful query that can help you identify if you have installed any third party modules in SQL Server is the below:
SELECT * FROM sys.dm_os_loaded_modules WHERE company != 'Microsoft Corporation'; GO
Now, if the above query returns any records, you will need to go through one by one, and check whether you are using or not, the latest version of these drivers/modules.
Moreover, in the “description” column in the record set returned by the above query, an indication that might be related to the error, is to identify any third party modules that may be using Win32 classes (i.e. WMI, etc.) and further focus your troubleshooting to these modules.
Last but not least, you can consider opening a Microsoft Support ticket along with checking whether SQL Server generated a dump file or not (*.mdmp), when the service failed (Microsoft Support might ask for the dump file).
To find the location of the dump file:
- You open SQL Server Configuration Manager
- You open the properties of the SQL Server service (right click – properties)
- You navigate to the “Advanced” tab and in there you can find the dump directory
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Artemakis Artemiou is a Senior Database and Software Architect, Certified Database, Cloud and AI professional, Author, a 9 Times Microsoft Data Platform MVP (2009-2018). He has over 20 years of experience in the IT industry in various roles. Artemakis is the founder of SQLNetHub. Artemakis is the creator of the well-known software tools Snippets Generator and DBA Security Advisor. Also, he is the author of many eBooks on SQL Server. Moreover, Artemakis teaches on Udemy, you can check his courses here.