Reporting Problems and Finding Solutions

into action . Windows Error Reporting is a feature that can report problem information to Microsoft. (In fact, although the service and programs that enable the feature are called Windows Error Reporting, the term you're more likely to see in Windows is problem reporting .) Microsoft makes this information available to the developers of the program that caused the error (whether it's from Microsoft or from another vendor), allowing them to see which errors occur most frequently and, ultimately, to develop fixes for the problems .

Windows Error Reporting has been streamlined and improved in the most recent versions of Windows. In Windows XP, the system was essentially manual; when an error occurred, you were invited to send a report to Microsoft. Following up an error report to see if a solution had become available was a cumbersome, discouraging process.

In Windows 7, you can automate this entire reporting and follow-up process . The salient features of Windows Error Reporting in Windows 7 are as follows:

• You now have the option of configuring Windows Error Reporting to transmit basic information to Microsoft automatically when an error occurs .

• You can configure Windows Error Reporting to transmit a more detailed problem report (but not personally identifiable information) automatically when the system requests it. Or you can provide this additional information on a case-by-case basis.

• You can configure Windows Error Reporting to notify you automatically when an error occurs for which a solution is available

• Windows Error Reporting maintains a history of errors on your system You can use this to review dates and events and to see what information has been sent to Microsoft. More importantly, you can use the history to check periodically for new solutions that might have been developed for problems that have occurred in the past.

In addition to the improvements in Windows Error Reporting, Windows offers application developers a set of application recovery and restart functions that allow them to respond more gracefully to hangs and crashes. An application written with these functions will probably respond to a crash by restarting and reopening the document you were working on. Ifyou use Microsoft Office 2OO7 or later, you might already have seen these recovery and restart features in action . As time goes by, you can expect to see more and more programs that take advantage of these features .

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