Error Reporting in Windows

I use Windows and generally when I get that “shutdown message”, a box asks if I want to report the problem. I usually report it, since it’s simple to click “yes”.

Is there anyone watching the error trends (back at Microsoft) to eliminate the problem for future software programs, or is the button simply a placebo?

I honestly just think its a placebo… I dont think MS has the resources to look at all of them. I actually turned that off completely so i dont see it at all.

According to our Microsoft rep at work, they use those reports for prioritizing things. If they are getting lots of reports for a particular error then they put more people working on it than if they only get a few.

I seriously doubt if Bill Gates stays up late waiting for error reports to come in. For that matter, no one at MS seems to care much about errors. They can just promote it as a feature, not a bug.


More seriously, I think the only time any error reports sent to MS will be looked at by a human is if they are both numerous and never before seen. The chances of the one you found being in that category are pretty slim.

It’s for sure that you won’t get a helpful patch back to fix it, which is what should happen. It’s a one-way street. :rolleyes:

Every time my heavily player-modified version of Oblivion crashes to the desktop Windows asks me if I want to send an error report. Of course I never do, and this is about the only time I ever see the error report box. Do you expect that Microsoft, nay Bill Gates himself, should send me a patch to make my wacky version of a non-Microsoft product to run better.

I’m sure this is exactly what Steve Jobs does. :rolleyes:

Oblivion, especially when heavily player-modified, is well-known to tend to crash. It has nothing to do with XP which is a stable and versatile OS.

I am pretty sure that Linus Torvalds cries himself to sleep every time a Linux program crashes. Which is very rare, of course, because open source programs don’t have bugs.

In a more perfect world, yes, I would expect an error report would be followed by a fix for the problem sent back to the person(s) who helped find it and were affected by it, regardless of who is at fault.

Call me a dreamer.

According to my brother, a Microsoftie, the error reports are taken very seriously. There are hundreds of thousands or millions of reports on a particular error, these get prioritized and into patches.

Seconded (or thirded…or whatever). Have you used the “file extension search” functionality recently? It’s a pop-up window that asks you whether you want to find the proper program to open a file when that extension is unknown to your system. At first I thought “cool” but when I tried to use it I saw it was a web-service which hadn’t any information yet.

Since then several years have passed.

And there still isn’t significant information on that webservice (“zip” file extension , “pk3” file extension , which is a different name for zip files )

The problem is not so much the OS but overloading it with functionality which, in the long run, will simply be overlooked. Clippy is a good example but so is the “web-service” which I referenced before.

And then they (Microsoft) have a tendency to hide many useful things, because they don’t think users need them anymore. For instance, the “Windows Explorer” window. Sure, now I’m familiar with XP and am able to open it with one keystroke (Windows Key + E) but in Windows NT I needed one (or two) clicks from the start button to find it. Now? About 5 submenus later… if it isn’t hidden. In Windows 2000 it hid itself a bit further… and so on.The same happens with the Control Panel, the Command Prompt, etc. etc.

It’s Annoyance by a thousand features whilst Double-Annoying with the disappearance of a thousand other features.

Maybe at first (as I said in a previous post), but what about 2 years later, when the reports are still coming in? Do you think they keep Gates awake at night?

The average user has no way of knowing if his error is unique, typical, or waaay past the ho-hum stage.

I almost never bother sending those error reports, as I almost never use M$ software. I don’t really think they are prioritizing reports about Firefox, or Open Office, or whatever random freeware I’m using.

Honestly by the time they figure out what caused it and make a patch for it the software that casued the error will probably have a patch first to prevent it form crashin.

Thanks guys for responding so quickly. China Guy thanks for asking a “Microsoftie”.

(I still push the “walk” button sometimes even though I know better - smile)

You do know that “Clippy” wasn’t, and isn’t, and never was part of the Windows OS, right?

When I was doing XP phone support, someone brought this up in training. Our instructor visited Redmond, and met the guy in charge of the dept. that receives these reports. Apparently our instructor mentioned that he didn’t submit those reports, which shocked the dept. head.

Apparently these reports are taken quite seriously, and especially in conglomeration, they can be vital to resolving an issue.

It’s not like you’re being forced to type in an explanation… just hit ‘Send’ and be done with it.

Your one error report by itself is indeed meaningless. But large numbers of reports about a same error help MS prioritize issues.

Even when an error occurs in an non MS application, the information can be useful to MS - at the very least they can notify the 3rd party software maker of the issue, but other times, the problem might be surfacing the 3rd party app, but may still be MS related in some way (since all apps are running on top of thier OS)

A couple years ago, I had a recurrent problem with programs freezing. They wouldn’t respond to any commands, not even to close. I could get it to close by turning off the computer, which would show me an error reporting box. One day, that got me a reply. They said it was “application hang,” and they sent me on a wild goose chase through the Knowledge Base, where nothing seemed to match my problem. Then they prescribed a series of scary-sounding procedures, which I felt unqualified to do.

The next time I got a Windows update, the problem disappeared. I hope this gave you a glimmer of information.

Right you are. :smack:

I meant it’s a good example for Microsoft’s tendency to overload their products with unwished-for features (if not bugs) :stuck_out_tongue:

Sometimes after clicking the ‘send report’ button, another dialog comes up promising further information about the problem - this links to various things such as:

-Nonexistent or broken MS knowledgebase pages
-Pages telling you that the problem you had running some non-MS software was really not their fault, and you wouldn’t have that trouble if you weren’t so damn philandering in your choice of software suppliers.
-Very occasionally, pages that detail some patch, update or configuration change that may resolve the problem.