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Windows Error Reporting


Windows includes a facility called Windows Error Reporting (WER), which facilitates the automatic submission of process and system failures (such as crashes and/or hangs) to Microsoft (or an internal error reporting server) for analysis. This feature is enabled by default, but it can be modified by changing WER’s behavior, which takes the additional step of determining whether the system is configured to send a crash dump to Microsoft for analysis on a reboot following a crash. The WER Advanced Settings screen, which you access from the Problem Reports And Solutions screen of the Control Panel’s System applet. This dialog box allows you to configure the system’s error reporting settings.

If Wininit.exe finds the HKLM\SYSTEM\CurrentControlSet\Control\CrashControl\MachineCrash key, it executes WerFault.exe with the –k –c flags (the k flag indicates kernel error reporting, and the c flag indicates that the full or kernel dump should be converted to a minidump) to have WerFault.exe check for a kernel crash dump file. WerFault takes the following steps for preparing to send a crash dump report to the Microsoft Online Crash Analysis (OCA) site (or, if configured, an internal error reporting server):

1. If the type of dump it generated was not a minidump, it extracts a minidump from the dump file and stores it in the default location of \Windows\Minidumps, unless otherwise configured through the MinidumpDir value in the HKLM\SYSTEM\CurrentControlSet\Control\CrashControl\ key.

2. It writes the name of the minidump files to HKLM\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Windows\Windows Error Reporting\KernelFaults\Queue.

3. It adds a command to execute WerFault.exe (\Windows\System32\WerFault.exe) to HKLM\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\RunOnce so that WerFault is executed one more time during the first user’s logon to the system for purposes of actually sending the error report.

Source of Information : Microsoft Press Windows Internals 5th Edition


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