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Bye Bye Windows Error Reporting

Don't like being pestered by Windows Error Reporting? Here’s how to shut it up.

Chris, Do you know if there's a way to get rid of the box that pops up when a piece of software crashes, the one that asks if it can notify Microsoft? I loathe having to mouse over and click that thing.
— Karen

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Karen, first can you tell me how you really feel? While the intent of Windows Error Reporting is excellent, I can see how it can lead to frustration. Any popups that follow a crash can sometimes add insult to injury. It's like accidentally breaking something at work and having an annoying coworker say, "I better let the boss know right away!"

While I can definitely help you in making WER notifications go away, I must admit that I personally really like it. WER can help you to get to the source of crashes on your system and, in turn, provide guidance on how to correct the problem that caused the crash in the first place. Of course, at other times WER can act like nothing more than that annoying coworker that we all loathe.

For a primer on WER, I suggest that you take a look at the TechNet article, "Windows Error Reporting (Using Windows Server 2003 in a Managed Environment)". It provides an excellent overview of how error reporting functions, and also provides instructions on managing this service using Group Policy. Since the article covers WER management via Group Policy, I'll just focus on the Registry modifications that you'll need to solve your specific problem.

All of the local WER settings can be managed on your XP system by running regedit and navigating to the following registry key:

HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\PCHealth\ErrorReporting

From here, you need to set the values contained in this key as follows:

  • AllOrNone: 1
  • DoReport: 0
  • IncludeKernelFaults: 0
  • IncludeMicrosoftApps: 0
  • IncludeWindowsApps: 0
  • ShowUI: 0

The Registry Editor showing these modifications is displayed in Figure 1.


[Click on image for larger view.]
Figure 1. Disabling Windows Error Reporting via the Windows Registry.

With these changes made, WER will forever leave you alone.

One other thing that I like about Windows Error Reporting is that it fills the nagging void left by my wife while I'm at work. I can always count on WER to nag me about something a few times a week and make me feel right at home.

About the Author

Chris Wolf is a Microsoft MVP for Windows --Virtual Machine and is a MCSE, MCT, and CCNA. He's a Senior Analyst for Burton Group who specializes in the areas of virtualization solutions, high availability, storage and enterprise management. Chris is the author of Virtualization: From the Desktop to the Enterprise (Apress), Troubleshooting Microsoft Technologies (Addison Wesley), and a contributor to the Windows Server 2003 Deployment Kit (Microsoft Press).learningstore-20/">Troubleshooting Microsoft Technologies (Addison Wesley) and a contributor to the Windows Server 2003 Deployment Kit (Microsoft Press).

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