You might want to disable Windows Error Reporting for two reasons: You don't want to send error reports to Microsoft or the "application xy has stopped working" messages get on your nerves. In this post I will discuss both topics and in my next post I will show you how to disable Windows Error Reporting.

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Send error reports to Microsoft?

Of course, Microsoft and third-party hardware and software vendors are highly interested in Windows error reports because these reports help improve the stability of their applications. You might also benefit from this Windows feature if the developers get the chance to solve your specific problem.

However, more cautious admins might feel uncomfortable sending error reports to Microsoft. Even though the contents of the .wer files are relatively harmless, parts of the Windows 7 Privacy Statement sound somewhat unsettling:

Microsoft may access or disclose information about you, including the content of your communications, in order to: (a) comply with the law or respond to lawful requests or legal process; (b) protect the rights or property of Microsoft or our customers, including the enforcement of our agreements or policies governing your use of the software; or (c) act on a good faith belief that such access or disclosure is necessary to protect the personal safety of Microsoft employees, customers, or the public.

Basically, this means that Microsoft or third parties can use the information provided by Windows Error Reporting against you or your organization. Well, if your license management is perfect, you have nothing to worry about, right?

The “program has stopped working” dialog

By default, whenever an application crashes, Windows Error Reporting displays a message informing you the program has stopped working and that Windows is collecting more information about the problem. Until this process is finished, you can't re-launch the application. You can always cancel the data collecting, but then Windows Error Reporting becomes less useful.

Google Chrome has stopped working

If you have to work with an unstable application these "has stopped working" messages can get on your nerves. In this case it makes sense to either disable Windows Error Reporting altogether or at least disable it for this particular application.

However, you should know that by doing so, you won't be informed at all when a program crashes. If you are currently working with the application, you will notice it immediately. But if an application is running in the background, for example on a server, a pop-up message that the program has stopped working could be helpful.

Of course, the main reason not to disable Windows Error Reporting is because the error reports can help you or your software or hardware vendor’s support team to identify the problem. As far as I know, there is no way to configure Windows to create error reports and store them only locally without sending them to Microsoft. Update: It appears there is a way. See comments below.

In my next post I will outline how you can disable Windows Error Reporting in Windows 7, Vista, and Windows XP.

  1. Aaron 13 years ago

    You can manage error reports locally without sending them to Microsoft with the Desktop Error Monitoring tool that’s a component of MDOP:

  2. This is interesting! But the page you linked to only says that you can use MDOP to monitor WER. Where did you read that the reports won’t be send to Microsoft?

  3. Aaron 13 years ago

    It’s been a while since I read the documentation, but I understand that you configure DEM to save error reports to a SQL Db inside the corp network. You can then choose which reports to send to Microsoft.

  4. Thanks, Aaron! I added a note to article.

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