Solving the Exception in Thread AWT-EventQueue-0 Java.lang.StackOverflowError

Are you experiencing the java.lang.StackOverflowError exception in your Java application? This guide will walk you through the steps to identify and fix the issue.

Table of Contents

  1. Understanding the Exception
  2. Common Causes
  3. How to Debug and Fix the Issue
  4. Preventing StackOverflowError
  5. FAQs

Understanding the Exception

A java.lang.StackOverflowError exception is thrown when a Java application runs out of memory due to excessively deep or infinite recursion. The Java Virtual Machine (JVM) uses the call stack to keep track of method invocations during the execution of a program. When the call stack becomes too large, it exceeds the allocated memory, leading to a StackOverflowError.

Here is a sample error message:

Exception in thread "AWT-EventQueue-0" java.lang.StackOverflowError

Common Causes

Some of the typical causes of a StackOverflowError include:

  1. Infinite recursion: When a method keeps calling itself indefinitely, leading to an infinite loop.
  2. Deep recursion: A recursive method with too many levels of recursion.
  3. Large local variable space: When the memory allocated to local variables in a method is too large, causing the call stack to overflow.

How to Debug and Fix the Issue

Follow these steps to debug and fix the StackOverflowError:

Step 1: Identify the Problematic Method

Inspect the error message and stack trace to identify the problematic method. The stack trace will show a list of method calls that led to the exception.

Step 2: Analyze the Method

Examine the problematic method to determine if it contains infinite recursion, deep recursion, or large local variables.

Step 3: Fix the Issue

Depending on the problem identified in step 2, apply the appropriate solution:

  • Infinite recursion: Modify the method to include a base case or exit condition to prevent infinite recursion.
  • Deep recursion: Try to refactor the method to use iteration instead of recursion, or reduce the number of recursive calls by optimizing the algorithm.
  • Large local variables: Reduce the memory allocated to local variables, or move the variables to the heap by creating objects.

Step 4: Test the Application

After applying the fix, test the application to ensure that the StackOverflowError is resolved and the application functions as expected.

Preventing StackOverflowError

To minimize the chances of encountering a StackOverflowError, follow these best practices:

  1. Use iteration instead of recursion when possible.
  2. Optimize recursive algorithms to minimize the number of recursive calls.
  3. Keep local variables to a minimum and use objects to store data on the heap when necessary.
  4. Monitor and profile your application to detect potential memory issues early.


1. What is a java.lang.StackOverflowError?

A java.lang.StackOverflowError is an error that occurs when the Java call stack exceeds its allocated memory, usually due to excessive recursion.

2. What is the difference between a StackOverflowError and an OutOfMemoryError?

A StackOverflowError occurs when the call stack exceeds its allocated memory, while an OutOfMemoryError occurs when the Java heap runs out of memory.

3. How can I increase the stack size in Java?

Use the -Xss option when starting your Java application to set the stack size, for example: java -Xss512k MyApp

4. Can increasing the stack size fix a StackOverflowError?

Increasing the stack size can temporarily fix the issue if it's caused by deep recursion, but it's not a long-term solution. It's better to refactor the code to use iteration or optimize the algorithm to reduce the number of recursive calls.

5. Is there a way to catch a StackOverflowError in Java?

Although it's possible to catch a StackOverflowError using a try-catch block, it's not recommended, as the error indicates a serious problem with the application. Instead, focus on fixing the issue that caused the error in the first place.

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