PC Doctor May 16, 2014

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Dear PC Doctor:

When a program on my PC crashes, a screen comes up asking me to ‘send an error report.’  What does this really mean?  What happens when I send an error report?  Will someone from Microsoft call me?  Should I send Microsoft an error report when my program crashes?



Dear Bob:

When you send an error report, the data is used by software developers to improve the software and prevent the same problem happening in future versions.  According to Microsoft, any error reports you send are confidential and anonymous. They won’t be traced back to you.

Each error report contains the details needed for software developers at Microsoft to analyze the problem. An error report includes information about the Office program you are running and the actions that caused the problem. Additionally, the error report contains system information (processor, hardware, and operating system that you are using) and application information (condition of your computer and the Office program just before the problem occurred, including data stored in memory.)

In rare cases of problems that are especially difficult to solve, some registry settings and one or more files from your computer might be needed to help solve the problem. If this is the case, the error reporting tool will ask for your permission to send these files before they are transferred.

Before you choose to send the report, you can view the data that the report contains by clicking the “click here” link at the bottom of the dialog box.  Although you cannot change the report, you can choose not to send it if you think that it might contain sensitive information.  So, the first answer is yes, it’s helpful to send an error report.  The other answer is that no one from Microsoft will be calling you as a result of sending an error report.  In fact, according to the Microsoft support web site, Microsoft will not ever make an unsolicited call to you.  The site recommends that, if you receive a call from someone claiming to be Microsoft and asking for access to your computer, hang up!


I hope this is helpful –

Until next time… happy computing!

     PC Doctor