Error: Subprocess Exited With Error: How to Fix This Common Issue

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In many programming languages and environments, subprocesses are essential because they let us run outside commands or programmes from within our code. Python, a flexible language, offers the subprocess module to provide this feature without any hitches. The dreaded “error: subprocess-exited-with-error” could appear when working with subprocesses, too. In this post, we’ll examine the reasons of this issue, look at possible solutions, and talk about how to avoid it.


Subprocesses are a potent tool in the Python programmer’s toolbox, allowing us to easily connect with other programmes, execute system commands, and carry out a variety of other tasks. A high-level interface for creating, managing, and interacting with subprocesses is provided by the Python subprocess module. It enables us to carry out commands, record their outcomes, manage input streams, and even engage in programmatic interaction with them.

Understanding subprocesses and the subprocess module

Before we get into the intricacies of the “error: subprocess-exited-with-error,” let’s gain a fundamental grasp of subprocesses and the subprocess module. Subprocesses are separate processes that originate from a larger process, usually our main Python programme. They can allow for communication between various programmes or allow for concurrent operation or simultaneous task execution.

Python’s subprocess module offers a number of functions and classes that can be used to successfully communicate with subprocesses. The Popen class, which enables us to construct and manage subprocesses, and operations like run and call, which streamline command execution, are a few of the crucial elements.

What is “error: subprocess-exited-with-error”?

A subprocess executed by the subprocess module has terminated with a non-zero return code, according to the error message “error: subprocess-exited-with-error”. In plainer language, it indicates that a problem or failure occurred during the execution of an external command or programme that the subprocess was executing. Any subprocess-related error that results in termination with a non-zero return code is covered by this error message as a whole.

Common causes of the error

It is crucial to comprehend the typical causes of the “error: subprocess-exited-with-error” in order to properly troubleshoot and fix the problem. Let’s look at some of the typical causes of this problem.

Invalid command or arguments

Incorrect commands or parameters supplied to the subprocess are among the main reasons of this issue. The subprocess will end with the specified error if the command or its arguments are typed improperly, have the wrong formatting, or are not recognised by the operating system.

Permission issues

Insufficient or improper permissions are another frequent source of the “error: subprocess-exited-with-error” message. The error may occur if the subprocess needs specific permissions to access certain files, directories, or system resources, but those permissions are not provided. This may occur while using commands that need administrator rights to execute or when gaining access to restricted resources.

Resource limitations

Resource shortages may also be a factor in “error: subprocess-exited-with-error” occurrences. The operating system might terminate the subprocess if it uses too much memory, CPU, or other system resources, which would result in the error. This can happen when resource-demanding commands are run or when many subprocesses are started at once, taxing the system’s resources.

Troubleshooting the error

It’s critical to conduct a methodical investigation into the problem when the error message “error: subprocess-exited-with-error” appears. You can take the following actions to identify and fix the error:

Checking command and arguments

Start by checking the subprocess’s command and arguments. Make that the operating system can recognise the command and that it is spelt correctly. Verify the arguments a second time to make sure they are formatted correctly and passed in the correct order.

Verifying permissions

Check the permissions that the subprocess needs next. Verify that the user who is running the Python programme has the authority to carry out the command and have access to any needed files or resources. If administrative rights are required, you might want to run the programme with them.

Addressing resource limitations

If resource constraints are the cause of the problem, think about optimising the subprocess’s consumption. Reduce the amount of resources used by the command or programme being run by optimising it. Consider managing them more effectively, delaying their execution, or applying resource management strategies to avoid resource exhaustion if several subprocesses are being utilised.

Handling specific scenarios

Even though the error message “error: subprocess-exited-with-error” is generic, it can appear in several circumstances. Let’s examine how to respond to some particular situations:

Error with file I/O

Make sure the file paths are accurate and that the programme has the appropriate rights to read or write to the files if the issue happens when the subprocess is conducting file input/output activities. Additionally, to give more detailed error messages, handle file-related exceptions and faults within the subprocess.

Error with network operations

Make that the network link is reliable and the required network resources are available if the subprocess involves network activities. In the subprocess, look for network-related problems such connection timeouts or unauthorised access and respond to them properly.

Best practices for subprocess usage

Consider implementing the following best practises to reduce the likelihood of the “error: subprocess-exited-with-error” and guarantee dependable subprocess execution:

Input sanitization and validation

User inputs should always be cleaned up and verified before being passed to subprocesses. As a result, command injection attacks are less likely to occur and the subprocess is guaranteed to get reliable inputs.

Error handling and logging

Use strong error handling techniques in your code to detect and elegantly manage issues relating to subprocesses. To assist in troubleshooting and debugging, record pertinent error information, such as the command that was executed, any error messages, and the return code.

Security considerations

When working with subprocesses, keep security in mind. Do not run unverified commands or programmes without sufficient validation. Implement security measures to prevent unauthorised access, such as limiting the execution of subprocesses to certain commands or creating a whitelist of permitted programmes.


When using subprocesses in Python, the “error: subprocess-exited-with-error” error message might be a nuisance. You may reduce the incidence of this problem and guarantee the efficient execution of subprocesses in your Python programmes by comprehending its origins, using troubleshooting approaches, and adhering to best practises.

To lessen the error, keep in mind to pay attention to the command and parameter validity, to permissions, and to resource constraints. Additionally, the subprocess should be able to effectively handle certain scenarios like file I/O or network operations problems.

You can increase the dependability and security of your subprocess usage by adhering to recommended practises such input sanitization, error handling, and security concerns.

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