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Fix: Java.lang.outofmemoryerror: gc overhead limit exceeded

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Programming has become far easier in 2023 as compared to the last two decades thanks to the numerous resources available on the internet. However, random bugs and glitches still occur from time to time that leave programmers scratching their heads. 

In this article, we’re talking about the “Java.lang.outofmemoryerror: gc overhead limit exceeded” error, its causes and what you can to do fix the problem.

Also read: Application blocked by Java security error: 2 Fixes


What causes this error?

The error is triggered when the Java Virtual Machine (JVM) spends far too much time performing garbage collection. As a result, it’s only able to reclaim very little heap space. According to the Java documentation, JVM is configured to throw this error after spending 98% of its CPU time doing garbage collection. 

Garbage collection is defined as the process of freeing up memory from objects that are no longer being used. Since the JVM is spending the majority of its time cleaning up, the error can indicate memory exhaustion. In other words, you need to optimise your code so that it doesn’t create unnecessary objects and fill up your system’s memory. 


How to fix this?

Fixing the error requires taking a good look at your code and finding out what objects are occupying large portions of the heap, in addition to finding where these objects are being allocated in the source code. After this, optimise your code to cut down on these objects, both in terms of number and size. Check out the Java tuning guide from Oracle for more information on reducing excessive garbage collection.

Alternatively, you can increase the heap size by changing the JVM launch configuration. But this is only a temporary workaround and will not solve the error, especially if you have memory leaks in your source code. You can also disable the error message entirely by adding the following line to your start scripts.

-XX:-UseGCOverheadLimit

However, similarly to increasing the heap size, doing this will also simply postpone the error until you inevitably get the error message again. Hence these approaches aren’t recommended.

Also read: How to fix ‘Java: compilation failed: internal java compiler error’?

Yadullah Abidi

Yadullah Abidi

Yadullah is a Computer Science graduate who writes/edits/shoots/codes all things cybersecurity, gaming, and tech hardware. When he's not, he streams himself racing virtual cars. He's been writing and reporting on tech and cybersecurity with websites like Candid.Technology and MakeUseOf since 2018. You can contact him here: yadullahabidi@pm.me.

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