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windows software errorWindows tracks every application crash and freeze on your system. It records detailed information about the crashes and even tries to provide a solution to each error report, helping you fix problems. With that in mind, the question is: should you pay more attention to these error reports and solutions?

Microsoft’s Windows Error Reporting service was originally introduced in Windows XP. When a Windows application crashes or freezes The 3 Most Common Solutions To Fix A Windows Computer That Is Always Freezing Up The 3 Most Common Solutions To Fix A Windows Computer That Is Always Freezing Up Read More , the error-reporting service springs into action and saves information about the crash, including a memory dump of the crashed program’s state. The information is saved on your computer, but the tool offers to upload the crash data to Microsoft’s servers.

Viewing Error Reports

You don’t have to dig the error reports out of the system event log How To Solve Any Windows Problem with Event ID How To Solve Any Windows Problem with Event ID Read More yourself. Instead, there’s a helpful tool in the Action Center. To open the action center, click the flag icon in your system tray and select Open Action Center. In the Action Center window, click the Maintenance header and select View reliability history. You can also just search Top 7 Windows Search Tricks Used by Pro Users Top 7 Windows Search Tricks Used by Pro Users Read More for Reliability in your Start menu and open the View reliability history application that appears.

windows software error

The Reliability Monitor displays different types of information, including Windows error messages, warnings, and information messages. The software error reports are classified as “Application failures.” You can click one of the dates with an application failure to see the error report. Windows will show you which application crashed, tell you when it crashed, and display a summary of the error.

You can also click the View all problem reports link at the bottom of the window to view all recorded software error messages at once.

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windows error reporting

Fixing Real Problems

Click the Check for a solution link next to the error and Windows will check for a solution to the error you’re experiencing. In theory, the Reliability Monitor can help you solve these errors. In practice, however, you’ll probably see this message:

windows error reporting

The “No new solutions found” message is very common. It’s anecdotal, but I’ve never once seen an actual solution instead of this message – of course, I stopped using the Check for a solution feature after trying several times and never seeing an actual solution. Clicking this link is worth a try if you’re experiencing problems, but don’t count on it helping much.

There’s a Check for solutions to all problems link at the bottom of the window, too. Click this and you can check for solutions to all recorded software errors at once. Unfortunately, this link resulted in a “No new solutions found” message for me, too – and I had quite a few software errors for Windows to examine.

Without error-specific solutions, you’ll have to go by generic ones: Update your software 3 Reasons Why You Should Be Running The Latest Windows Security Patches & Updates 3 Reasons Why You Should Be Running The Latest Windows Security Patches & Updates The code that makes up the Windows operating system contains security loop holes, errors, incompatibilities, or outdated software elements. In short, Windows isn't perfect, we all know that. Security patches and updates fix the vulnerabilities... Read More if it keeps crashing. If the update doesn’t solve the problem, you may want to look into an alternative, stable application.

The Good

That said, the Windows Error Reporting service isn’t entirely worthless. It does some good things:

  • Software error reports can be sent to Microsoft, where software developers can prioritize bug fixes based on how much each bug actually effects users. Third-party software developers can apply to view error reports for their software in Microsoft’s database.
  • The error history can show you which programs are misbehaving on a particular system. If you’re working on someone else’s computer, you can see what programs are giving them trouble.
  • The information message history can help you determine the cause of an error. For example, you may notice that a video driver How To Safely & Easily Update Your Video Card Drivers How To Safely & Easily Update Your Video Card Drivers Hunting for device drivers isn't such a task anymore, anyway. Most of your Windows drivers will never need to be touched right out of the box. Your video card is in its own sacred territory... Read More was updated the day before crashes started to occur.

windows software error

The Verdict

So, should you pay more attention to these windows software error reports? It depends. If you already know which programs are crashing, the error reporting service probably won’t help you solve the crashes. If you’d like to see which programs are unstable at a glance – particularly if you’re performing maintenance on someone else’s computer 6 Must-Have Apps For Computer Repair Technicians 6 Must-Have Apps For Computer Repair Technicians Read More – the error reports can be useful. The other system information messages can help clue you in to the cause of a problem, too.

Have you found the Reliability Monitor useful? Have you ever seen an actual solution? Leave a comment and let us know.

Image Credit: Computer Health via Shutterstock

  1. Matt
    July 7, 2012 at 4:46 am

    Have you ever had a friend call you and list some obscure error code from a blue screen and expect you to know the reason because you are a geek.

    • Chris Hoffman
      July 9, 2012 at 4:48 am

      No, but I've certainly had people ask me how to do something with a piece of software I've never used before and expect me to know.

      I can find out, just let me poke around the program or pull up Google -- same as they could do.

    • Athlonite
      August 2, 2012 at 5:34 pm

      My standard answer to those kinds of questions is welcome to the wonderful world of computers where random stuff happens for random reasons

  2. Shehan Nirmal
    June 7, 2012 at 8:10 am

    Sending error reports helps Microsoft to correct the mistakes in Windows...

    • Chris Hoffman
      June 8, 2012 at 1:02 am

      Very true. But that's only half the puzzle -- it's theoretically supposed to help users solve problems, too.

  3. Terafall
    June 7, 2012 at 3:49 am

    I prefer using Soluto.Its simpler to use and good for people with zero knowledge in computer

    • Chris Hoffman
      June 8, 2012 at 1:02 am

      Soluto is definitely worth a try. I was pretty impressed by it.

  4. Laga Mahesa
    June 7, 2012 at 1:59 am

    Microsoft trained me a long time ago to not pay attention to Windows errors. Doing so will only lead to hours of time spent searching online for a cryptic code, only to be led to an obscure "Knowledge Base" article that provides zero knowledge and uses the words "may" or "arbitrarily" a lot.

    No, instead I've learned to go to more reliable sources of information with a description of the issue. Like here, for example, in the /answers/ section.

    • Chris Hoffman
      June 8, 2012 at 1:02 am

      Very true. It's better to Google the error than to use this service -- I wonder if Microsoft had big plans for this feature, but ended up ignoring it?

      Thanks for plugging the Answers section -- I'm glad you find it so useful!

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