- CONTROLLING ERROR REPORTS

Most everyone I've heard from agrees that Windows XP Professional comes exceptionally close to meeting the promise of reliable and hassle free computing. Still, there are always minor issues that can be addressed to further enhance the Windows' computing experience.

One new XP feature that can be an annoyance for some users is Windows Error Reporting (WER), which is somewhat of a mixed-blessing for all Windows' users.

On one hand, WER is a promising use of technology as it automatically sends critical information to Microsoft when a program causes a serious operating system error. The long-term value of this feature comes from Microsoft being made immediately aware of software conflicts. Additionally, by collecting this information from nearly every computer that runs the XP operating system, serious issues can be identified and corrected in a much more timely manner that with any previous edition of Windows.

However, from the individual user's perspective, viewing and approving each of these error reports every time a program stops responding can become an annoyance. This is particularly true for users who have several misbehaving programs that cause such problems (and thereby trigger Windows Error Reporting) on a regular basis.

Fortunately, Windows XP offers its users complete control over the WER process.

The controls for Windows Error Reporting are contained in the System Properties window, which can be accessed by either right-clicking the "My Computer" desktop icon, or by pressing the "Windows" and "Pause/Break" keys simultaneously.

Once opened, choose the "Advanced" tab and you'll find the "Error Reporting" selection at the bottom of this window.

While WER can be disabled entirely, such a choice would clearly defeat the many potential benefits. Instead, a careful selection of the WER options will enable users to strike a balance between error reporting and potentially irritating over-reporting.

The best solution that offers such a balance is to allow reporting for the Windows operating system itself, and also for the critical software applications that are used on daily basis. These can be selected from the "Programs" button within the Error Reporting section.

However, after any specific application stops functioning properly several times, (thus creating multiple error reports) you can revisit these "Program" selections and then remove the offending software from the list.

Using this approach, Microsoft (and ultimately all users) receives the benefit of the initial reports, but you can be free from endlessly viewing and approving such repetitive reports.

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Copyrighted with all rights reserved by Stephen M. Canale