Represents errors that occur during application execution.
To browse the .NET Framework source code for this type, see the Reference Source.
Assembly: mscorlib (in mscorlib.dll)
Thetype exposes the following members.
|Exception()||Initializes a new instance of the class.|
|Exception(String)||Initializes a new instance of the class with a specified error message.|
|Exception(SerializationInfo, StreamingContext)||Initializes a new instance of the class with serialized data.|
|Exception(String, Exception)||Initializes a new instance of the class with a specified error message and a reference to the inner exception that is the cause of this exception.|
|Data||Gets a collection of key/value pairs that provide additional user-defined information about the exception.|
|HelpLink||Gets or sets a link to the help file associated with this exception.|
|HResult||Gets or sets HRESULT, a coded numerical value that is assigned to a specific exception.|
|InnerException||Gets the instance that caused the current exception.|
|Message||Gets a message that describes the current exception.|
|Source||Gets or sets the name of the application or the object that causes the error.|
|StackTrace||Gets a string representation of the immediate frames on the call stack.|
|TargetSite||Gets the method that throws the current exception.|
|Equals(Object)||Determines whether the specified object is equal to the current object. (Inherited from Object.)|
|Finalize||Allows an object to try to free resources and perform other cleanup operations before it is reclaimed by garbage collection. (Inherited from Object.)|
|GetBaseException||When overridden in a derived class, returns the that is the root cause of one or more subsequent exceptions.|
|GetHashCode||Serves as the default hash function. (Inherited from Object.)|
|GetObjectData||When overridden in a derived class, sets the SerializationInfo with information about the exception.|
|GetType||Gets the runtime type of the current instance.|
In XNA Framework 3.0, this member is inherited from Object.GetType().
In Portable Class Library Portable Class Library, this member is inherited from Object.GetType().
In .NET for Windows Store apps Windows 8, this member is inherited from Object.GetType().
|MemberwiseClone||Creates a shallow copy of the current Object. (Inherited from Object.)|
|ToString||Creates and returns a string representation of the current exception. (Overrides Object.ToString().)|
To view the .NET Framework source code for this type, see the Reference Source. You can browse through the source code online, download the reference for offline viewing, and step through the sources (including patches and updates) during debugging; see instructions.
This class is the base class for all exceptions. When an error occurs, either the system or the currently executing application reports it by throwing an exception that contains information about the error. After an exception is thrown, it is handled by the application or by the default exception handler.
In this section:
Errors and exceptions
Run-time errors can occur for a variety of reasons. However, not all errors should be handled as exceptions in your code. Here are some categories of errors that can occur at run time and the appropriate ways to respond to them.
Usage errors. A usage error represents an error in program logic that can result in an exception. However, the error should be addressed not through exception handling but by modifying the faulty code. For example, the override of the Object.Equals(Object) method in the following example assumes that the obj argument must always be non-null.
The NullReferenceException exception that results when obj is a null reference (Nothing in Visual Basic) can be eliminated by modifying the source code to explicitly test for null before calling the Object.Equals override and then re-compiling. The following example contains the corrected source code that handles a a null reference (Nothing in Visual Basic) argument.
Instead of using exception handling for usage errors, you can use the Debug.Assert method to identify usage errors in debug builds, and the Trace.Assert method to identify usage errors in both debug and release builds. For more information, see Assertions in Managed Code.
Program errors. A program error is a run-time error that cannot necessarily be avoided by writing bug-free code.
In some cases, a program error may reflect an expected or routine error condition. In this case, you may want to avoid using exception handling to deal with the program error and instead retry the operation. For example, if the user is expected to input a date in a particular format, you can parse the date string by calling the DateTime.TryParseExact method, which returns a Boolean value that indicates whether the parse operation succeeded, instead of using the DateTime.ParseExact method, which throws a FormatException exception if the date string cannot be converted to a DateTime value. Similarly, if a user tries to open a file that does not exist, you can first call the File.Exists method to check whether the file exists and, if it does not, prompt the user whether he or she wants to create it.
In other cases, a program error reflects an unexpected error condition that can be handled in your code. For example, even if you've checked to ensure that a file exists, it may be deleted before you can open it, or it may be corrupted. In that case, trying to open the file by instantiating a StreamReader object or calling the Open method may throw a FileNotFoundException exception. In these cases, you should use exception handling to recover from the error.
System failures. A system failure is a run-time error that cannot be handled programmatically in a meaningful way. For example, any method can throw an OutOfMemoryException exception if the common language runtime is unable to allocate additional memory. Ordinarily, system failures are not handled by using exception handling. Instead, you may be able to use an event such as AppDomain.UnhandledException and call the Environment.FailFast method to log exception information and notify the user of the failure before the application terminates.
The common language runtime provides an exception handling model that is based on the representation of exceptions as objects, and the separation of program code and exception handling code into try blocks and catch blocks. There can be one or more catch blocks, each designed to handle a particular type of exception, or one block designed to catch a more specific exception than another block.
If an application handles exceptions that occur during the execution of a block of application code, the code must be placed within a try statement and is called a try block. Application code that handles exceptions thrown by a try block is placed within a catch statement and is called a catch block. Zero or more catch blocks are associated with a try block, and each catch block includes a type filter that determines the types of exceptions it handles.
When an exception occurs in a try block, the system searches the associated catch blocks in the order they appear in application code, until it locates a catch block that handles the exception. A catch block handles an exception of type T if the type filter of the catch block specifies T or any type that T derives from. The system stops searching after it finds the first catch block that handles the exception. For this reason, in application code, a catch block that handles a type must be specified before a catch block that handles its base types, as demonstrated in the example that follows this section. A catch block that handles System.Exception is specified last.
If none of the catch blocks associated with the current try block handle the exception, and the current try block is nested within other try blocks in the current call, the catch blocks associated with the next enclosing try block are searched. If no catch block for the exception is found, the system searches previous nesting levels in the current call. If no catch block for the exception is found in the current call, the exception is passed up the call stack, and the previous stack frame is searched for a catch block that handles the exception. The search of the call stack continues until the exception is handled or until no more frames exist on the call stack. If the top of the call stack is reached without finding a catch block that handles the exception, the default exception handler handles it and the application terminates.
Exception type features
Exception types support the following features:
Human-readable text that describes the error. When an exception occurs, the runtime makes a text message available to inform the user of the nature of the error and to suggest action to resolve the problem. This text message is held in the Message property of the exception object. During the creation of the exception object, you can pass a text string to the constructor to describe the details of that particular exception. If no error message argument is supplied to the constructor, the default error message is used. For more information, see the Message property.
The state of the call stack when the exception was thrown. The StackTrace property carries a stack trace that can be used to determine where the error occurs in the code. The stack trace lists all the called methods and the line numbers in the source file where the calls are made.
Exception class properties
The class includes a number of properties that help identify the code location, the type, the help file, and the reason for the exception: StackTrace, InnerException, Message, HelpLink, HResult, Source, TargetSite, and Data.
When a causal relationship exists between two or more exceptions, the InnerException property maintains this information. The outer exception is thrown in response to this inner exception. The code that handles the outer exception can use the information from the earlier inner exception to handle the error more appropriately. Supplementary information about the exception can be stored as a collection of key/value pairs in the Data property.
The error message string that is passed to the constructor during the creation of the exception object should be localized and can be supplied from a resource file by using the ResourceManager class. For more information about localized resources, see the Creating Satellite Assemblies for Desktop Apps and Packaging and Deploying Resources in Desktop Apps topics.
To provide the user with extensive information about why the exception occurred, the HelpLink property can hold a URL (or URN) to a help file.
The class uses the HRESULT COR_E_EXCEPTION, which has the value 0x80131500.
For a list of initial property values for an instance of the class, see the Exception constructors.
Throwing or handling an exception consumes a significant amount of system resources and execution time. Throw exceptions only to handle truly extraordinary conditions, not to handle predictable events or flow control. For example, in some cases, such as when you're developing a class library, it's reasonable to throw an exception if a method argument is invalid, because you expect your method to be called with valid parameters. An invalid method argument, if it is not the result of a usage error, means that something extraordinary has occurred. Conversely, do not throw an exception if user input is invalid, because you can expect users to occasionally enter invalid data. Instead, provide a retry mechanism so users can enter valid input. Nor should you use exceptions to handle usage errors. Instead, use assertions to identify and correct usage errors.
In addition, do not throw an exception when a return code is sufficient; do not convert a return code to an exception; and do not routinely catch an exception, ignore it, and then continue processing.
Choosing standard exceptions
When you have to throw an exception, you can often use an existing exception type in the .NET Framework instead of implementing a custom exception. You should use a standard exception type under these two conditions:
You are throwing an exception that is caused by a usage error (that is, by an error in program logic made by the developer who is calling your method). Typically, you would throw an exception such as ArgumentException, ArgumentNullException, InvalidOperationException, or NotSupportedException. The string you supply to the exception object's constructor when instantiating the exception object should describe the error so that the developer can fix it. For more information, see the Message property.
You are handling an error that can be communicated to the caller with an existing .NET Framework exception. You should throw the most derived exception possible. For example, if a method requires an argument to be a valid member of an enumeration type, you should throw an InvalidEnumArgumentException (the most derived class) rather than an ArgumentException.
Implementing custom exceptions
In the following cases, using an existing .NET Framework exception to handle an error condition is not adequate:
When the exception reflects a unique program error that cannot be mapped to an existing .NET Framework exception.
When the exception requires handling that is different from the handling that is appropriate for an existing .NET Framework exception, or the exception must be disambiguated from a similar exception. For example, if you throw an ArgumentOutOfRangeException exception when parsing the numeric representation of a string that is out of range of the target integral type, you would not want to use the same exception for an error that results from the caller not supplying the appropriate constrained values when calling the method.
The class is the base class of all exceptions in the .NET Framework. Many derived classes rely on the inherited behavior of the members of the class; they do not override the members of , nor do they define any unique members.
To define your own exception class:
Define a class that inherits from . If necessary, define any unique members needed by your class to provide additional information about the exception. For example, the ArgumentException class includes a ParamName property that specifies the name of the parameter whose argument caused the exception, and the RegexMatchTimeoutException property includes a MatchTimeout property that indicates the time-out interval.
If necessary, override any inherited members whose functionality you want to change or modify. Note that most existing derived classes of do not override the behavior of inherited members.
Determine whether your custom exception object is serializable. Serialization enables you to save information about the exception and permits exception information to be shared by a server and a client proxy in a remoting context. To make the exception object serializable, mark it with the SerializableAttribute attribute.
Define the constructors of your exception class. Typically, exception classes have one or more of the following constructors:
Exception(), which uses default values to initialize the properties of a new exception object.
Exception(String), which initializes a new exception object with a specified error message.
Exception(String, Exception), which initializes a new exception object with a specified error message and inner exception.
Exception(SerializationInfo, StreamingContext), which is a protected constructor that initializes a new exception object from serialized data. You should implement this constructor if you've chosen to make your exception object serializable.
The following example illustrates the use of a custom exception class. It defines a NotPrimeException exception that is thrown when a client tries to retrieve a sequence of prime numbers by specifying a starting number that is not prime. The exception defines a new property, NonPrime, that returns the non-prime number that caused the exception. Besides implementing a protected parameterless constructor and a constructor with SerializationInfo and StreamingContext parameters for serialization, the NotPrimeException class defines three additional constructors to support the NonPrime property. Each constructor calls a base class constructor in addition to preserving the value of the non-prime number. The NotPrimeException class is also marked with the SerializableAttribute attribute.
The PrimeNumberGenerator class shown in the following example uses the Sieve of Eratosthenes to calculate the sequence of prime numbers from 2 to a limit specified by the client in the call to its class constructor. The GetPrimesFrom method returns all prime numbers that are greater than or equal to a specified lower limit, but throws a NotPrimeException if that lower limit is not a prime number.
The following example makes two calls to the GetPrimesFrom method with non-prime numbers, one of which crosses application domain boundaries. In both cases, the exception is thrown and successfully handled in client code.
Windows Runtime and .NET Framework 4.5.1
In .NET for Windows Store apps for Windows 8, some exception information is typically lost when an exception is propagated through non-.NET Framework stack frames. Starting with the .NET Framework 4.5.1 and Windows 8.1, the common language runtime continues to use the original object that was thrown unless that exception was modified in a non-.NET Framework stack frame.
The following example demonstrates a catch block that is defined to handle ArithmeticException errors. This catch block also catches DivideByZeroException errors, because DivideByZeroException derives from ArithmeticException and there is no catch block explicitly defined for DivideByZeroException errors.
.NET FrameworkSupported in: 4.5.2, 4.5.1, 4.5, 4, 3.5, 3.0, 2.0, 1.1, 1.0
.NET Framework Client ProfileSupported in: 4, 3.5 SP1
Portable Class LibrarySupported in: Portable Class Library
.NET for Windows Store appsSupported in: Windows 8
.NET for Windows Phone appsSupported in: Windows Phone 8.1, Windows Phone 8, Silverlight 8.1
Windows Phone 8.1, Windows Phone 8, Windows 8.1, Windows Server 2012 R2, Windows 8, Windows Server 2012, Windows 7, Windows Vista SP2, Windows Server 2008 (Server Core Role not supported), Windows Server 2008 R2 (Server Core Role supported with SP1 or later; Itanium not supported)
The .NET Framework does not support all versions of every platform. For a list of the supported versions, see .NET Framework System Requirements.