Stop Windows From Offering To Report Computer Errors To Microsoft

BY STANLEY ZAROWIN

Q. Although I am delighted that Windows XP is so much more stable than any earlier version of the Microsoft operating system, I’m quite annoyed when I experience an occasional application crash and a screen pops up and asks whether I want to automatically e-mail the problem to Microsoft. I may be paranoid, but I really don’t want Microsoft to have an opportunity to inspect my computer—even remotely. My colleagues tell me I’m silly, that by letting Microsoft examine what went wrong, I’d be contributing to a body of knowledge that will make Windows even more secure and stable in the future. What do you think?

A. While your colleagues have a point, I also understand your concern. Microsoft insists that its remote examination in no way compromises customers’ security, that all it looks at are the steps (keyboard and mouse commands) that preceded the crash—not your data. So there’s no question that by volunteering to let Microsoft examine the crash data you are indeed contributing to its future stability.

If you do agree to the investigation, the critical precrash data are automatically e-mailed to Microsoft. It takes no further action on your part and the whole process takes less than a minute.

You can stop Windows from inviting you to share the crash information in the first place, however. Here are the steps to take: Click on Start , Settings , Control Panel , System , the Advanced tab and Error Reporting (at the bottom of the screen), which launches the Error Reporting screen . Another way to get to that screen: Open My Computer , right-click on Properties , click on Advanced tab and Error Reporting .

The Error Reporting screen offers you several choices: If you opt to Enable error reporting , you can have it monitor either your Windows operating system , Programs or both. Or you can Disable error reporting but still check on But notify me when critical errors occur .

 

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