Introducing Windows Error Reporting


Hi,


Been away for a while at an ISV event and then on some 'well earned' holiday! so have neglected the blog a little lately... but here's some information that i think the developers out there will find quite useful regarding Windows Error Reporting.


More entries to follow soon...


Danny


Empower Programme Manager
v-dcale@microsoft.com


Leverage Microsoft’s Feedback System for Your Applications


Windows Error Reporting is the set of feedback technologies built-in to Microsoft Windows XP, Windows Vista, and Microsoft Windows Server 2003 operating systems. WER captures software crash and hang data from end-users who agree to report it. You can access the data that is related to your applications online at https://winqual.microsoft.com.


Using the WER service is like having thousands of testers reporting bugs on your company's applications. You can monitor error trends and download debug information to help your developers determine the precise causes for application errors. WER categorizes and prioritizes your data for you, and includes a response feature to provide solutions to your end-users.


How WER Adds Value to Software Development



  1. During Development: We provide tools to check your code for performance and reliability on Windows platforms. Tools like Microsoft Application Verifier and FXCop remove unseen bugs before testing begins.
  2. During Beta Testing: Windows Error Reporting works with your test versions.

    • Get early feedback on errors seen by end-users. WER provides you with an easy-to-use reporting summary. Error types are categorized for you, and hit counts show real-world impact.
    • WER makes it easier for you to debug your applications. You can download debug data on errors in Minidump format. We provide a Minidump reader, Windows Debugger. (Visual Studio also reads Minidumps). Windows Debugger also helps manage Symbols, which help you identify problem functions.

  3. After Release: Use WER to understand the top crash and hang issues affecting your customers.

    • Increase customer satisfaction by fixing top customer issues. Microsoft has found that fixing the top 1% of issues can cut customer pain (crashes/hangs) by more than half.
    • Reduce support costs by responding directly to a customer with a ready-made resolution. Once bugs are resolved, you can submit responses that fix them. These responses can be patches, updates, workarounds, or surveys; and these responses will be passed on to users the next time the same failure occurs.

  4. At End of Life: Ask your customers to upgrade! WER responses can inform your users that a new version is available and how to get it.



Register for Windows Error Reporting Services


Step 1 - Register Your Company on https://winqual.microsoft.com/SignUp/
Please note: a digital certificate is required. For your protection, and the protection of our end-users, Microsoft requires all ISVs to be identified by a digital certificate. We want to ensure that access to data related to your applications is secure. And, of course, we all want to protect the privacy of our end-users’ data. As of 3/1/2006, the cost from VeriSign for the digital certificate is four hundred dollars ($400). Microsoft does not charge ISVs for use of the WER software services.


Step 2 - Accept the Windows Error Reporting Terms of Use Agreement
This agreement grants usage rights for error reporting data collected by Microsoft. The data is to be used solely for resolving software problems.


Step 3 - Create User Accounts
Give your staff access to the feedback data.


Step 4 - Sign in and Map Your Files
WER collects data on your applications automatically, but needs to know which files are yours. Map your binary files online to start receiving your applications’ data.




Success Stories


Microsoft has benefited from Windows Error Reporting during the development and after product release. The Office product group fixed 50% of all reported errors in Service Pack 2. The Visual Studio product group fixed 74% of reported failures by Beta 1 for Visual Studio 2005. And the Windows product group fixed 29% of problems reported on Windows XP in Windows XP Service Pack 1.


Many ISVs have already signed up – we have over 1,900 already! We hear many wonderful stories of their successes in improving their code and reducing support costs.


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