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Abend – Definition, Occurrence, and Types

Abend – Definition, Occurrence, and Types


Abend, also known as abnormal end or AbEnd, is an abnormal termination of a computer program typically resulting from inaccurate software logic.

Knowing Abend:

It is known to be soft if the program recovers from the unexpected termination. If not, it’s known to be hard.

Common examples of abends include:

  • A program is accessing memory not designated for that program.
  • When a processor encounters instructions, it doesn’t understand.

When Does an Abend Occur?

An abend occurs when the host system cannot determine & resolve an error condition generated by the program. The term originated from the IBM 360 operating system that worked on IBM mainframe computers in the 1960s and 1970s.

The Novell NetWare operating system (OS) has used the term throughout its history but is no longer a supported product.

What Happens When It Occurs?

When a program exposes an Abend, the system issues an error message, mainly including information to resolve the issue. Furthermore, it can occur for multiple reasons, but it’s usually the result of an application malfunction or memory-related issue.

The term is more known in older mainframe systems than in PCs and typically refers to the abnormal end of an application rather than interference with the operating system.

What are the Types of Abend:

There are two types of abend codes: (User and System Abend)

  1. User Abends are the ones that depend on the user condition (Language Environment)—moreover, prefacing the codes by U and following the format of Udddd.
  2. System Abends are the ones that are due to some “system error,” e.g., S0C7, S0C4, and they follow the format of Shhh.


In conclusion, “Abend” is noteworthy in information technology, specifically in mainframe systems. It is a short form for “abnormal end,” which refers to an unexpected termination or failure of a computer program or process. Triggering of such can happen due to various factors, including software bugs & hardware issues or user errors.

Abends can disorder business operations, lead to data loss & require extensive troubleshooting to resolve. Consequently, IT professionals must detect and address Abends promptly to ensure the stability and reliability of computer systems. Understanding and mitigating Abends remains vital for maintaining seamless & uninterrupted digital operations in the present technology-driven world.

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