Understanding Windows Error Reporting and Privacy

The information that Windows Error Reporting transmits to Microsoft is intended to help the company improve its product reliability Microsoft engineers use this information for solving problems and making improvements, both to Windows and to Microsoft applications, such as Microsoft Office In the past, a large number of the fixes that arrived in

Windows service packs were the result of submitted error reports . In addition, Windows Error Reporting information involving a third-party application is available to that application's publisher so that its engineers can fix problems .

The basic report that Windows Error Reporting transmits typically includes information such as the application name and version, module name and version, exception (error) code, and offset. The likelihood that any of these items will convey personally identifiable information is essentially nil. The process does transmit your IP address to a Microsoft server, but Microsoft's Privacy Statement asserts that the IP address is used only to generate aggregate statistics, not to identify you.

If the Windows Error Reporting server requests additional information, that information will consist of one or more files, such as log files, temporary files, and memory dump files . Depending on the types of files and on your problem reporting settings, Windows might display a dialog box that asks your permission to send the files; you can click View Details to see the names of the files. It is not impossible that one or more of these files might include some data that could be used to identify you. If you are concerned about that possibility, you can use a text editor, such as Notepad, to inspect the files before you make a decision about whether to send them or not. (You can't open the files from within the Windows Error Reporting dialog box, but you can navigate to them via Windows Explorer before responding to the dialog box )

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