Divide error

Note: This document also applies to the error messages "Divide by Zero", "Divide by 0" or "Divide Overflow" error messages.

The divide error messages are caused when the computer or software attempts run a process that attempts to perform a mathematical division by zero, which is an illegal operation. This error message could also be caused by a computer or software limitation or conflict with computer memory.

Hardware or software incompatibility

This issue can occur if software is being run on a computer that has hardware that is incompatible with the software. For example, this issue may occur with restore software designed for a specific computer and is being run on another computer or on the correct computer that has added hardware within it.

Ensure that the software that is being run on the computer is compatible with the computer and that the computer meets the system requirements and determine if there are updates or replacements to the software being used.

Error with autoexec.bat or config.sys

Users who are running Microsoft Windows 3.x can temporarily remark or remove any additional lines that may not be required in the autoexec.bat and config.sys

Users who are running Microsoft Windows 95 or Windows 98, it is recommended that they temporarily rename the autoexec.bat and config.sys to ensure that these files are not causing the issue.  To do this, follow the instructions below:

  1. Click Start, Shutdown, and Restart the computer in a MS-DOS mode.
  2. Once at the MS-DOS mode, type:

    cd\ <press enter>
    ren autoexec.bat autoexec.ch <press enter>
    ren config.sys config.ch <press enter>
  3. Once the files have been renamed, reboot the computer.

Additional help and information with the autoexec.bat and config.sys can be found on our autoexec.bat and config.sys page.

Note: if you are unable to get to a MS-DOS prompt or to Windows to rename or edit the files, boot the computer to a MS-DOS mode only.

Driver issue

If you are encountering a divide error within Windows, ensure that all computer hardware devices, such as the computer video card, sound card, network card or modem have the latest drivers and patches.

You can find a listing of computer drivers on our driver page.

Software issue

If the divide error is occurring while in a computer game or software program and the above recommendations does not resolve your issue, ensure that all software patches and upgrades have been obtained and applied.

In addition, ensure that another program that may be running in the background, such as a Virus protection program, is not causing your issue by End Tasking all background programs and TSRs.

External cache or 2nd level cache

If you are encountering the divide error in an older software program or game it can be caused by compatibility issues with External or 2nd level cache. Temporarily disabling this feature in CMOS Setup may resolve your issue.

Improper calculation

If you are performing a calculation in any program and experience a divide error, ensure that the calculation being performed is possible. Some programs are not capable of verifying the accuracy of a calculation and may perform an illegal instruction.

However, many programs, such as Microsoft Excel, will generate a #DIV!0 error indicating the formula or calculation is invalid or you are attempting to divide by zero.

Operating system issue

If you continue to experience a divide error while in Windows or in a particular software program and have followed each of the above recommendations, ensure that the issue is not being caused by the operating system by attempting to reinstall the operating system. 

Hardware issue

Finally, if none of the above recommendations resolve or help to determine the cause of your issue the computer may have a hardware issue. When a Divide Error is encountered because of hardware it is caused by an issue with the computer Processor (CPU).

Additional information

  • See our divide definition for further information and related links on this term.