Please send in crash reports

Cyrus blogs about the “Watson” technology we use.  I want to second his request.  When a product crashes & Windows offers to upload a crash report, please send it! 

The dumps get uploaded, analyzed by an automated system, and sent to the correct team as a bug report in our bug database.

We always do our best to fix the crash in the version we're currently working on.  That means that crashes found in a Beta will appear in the final release, and crashes appearing in release builds will get fixed in the next version.

We also look at these when creating Service Packs.  Each feature team looks at the top 10 crashes in their area and considers back-porting the fixes.  For example, crashes found in VS2003 have been fixed in VS2005, and we may port the fixes to a VS2003 SP1. 

We also use take Watson crash reports from internal users around the company, which gets us good data on interim builds, before we even think about releasing a Beta or Community Tech Preview.

When we started doing Watson, nearly all of the crashes that came in were 1-minute fixes, typically adding a check for NULL that we hadn't anticipated the need for ahead of time.  The distribution of crashes has changed away from NULL checks, because we've fixed them.  I read that as meaning that the Watson program has been very effective.

Anyway, please upload your crash reports.

Comments (8)

  1. So there may not be a VS2003 SP1 at all?

  2. jaybaz [MS] says:

    My use of "may" applies to the word "port". That is, each crash report may or may not generate a fix in an SP.

    I don’t want to talk about whether we are or are not doing an SP, or a timeline for them. I want to be abstract.

  3. pl says:

    I encounter access-violation crashes in VS2003 pretty frequently, but we do all of our development on a private network, and the watson bug reports seem to want a direct connection to a microsoft server… so hopefully somebody else has encountered the same crashes on an internet connected machine and has sent you guys a bug report.

  4. jaybaz,

    crashes on me almost daily. i allways send in those reports.

    however, it really would be nice to have _some_ way to check out what happens to this stuff. something like bugzilla, for example.


    thomas woelfer

  5. jaybaz [MS] says:

    Thomas: We’re working on some public bug reporting as part of MSDN. It’s still in the early phases, but it’s growing quickly.

  6. David Larsson says:

    I have really come to like Minidumps and have used the dbghelp.dll API in a number of applications to get crash information from user sites. (It’s not as automated as Watson in XP – I write an Event Log entry and put the dmp file in a folder where a support person on site can pick it up later.) It’s really an eye opener to load those dmp files from the "real world" in the debugger!

    However, what about managed crash dumps? Will we get something more than a call stack trace (without source line numbers) in a future CLR version? I really want the full feature set of native minidumps, but I can understand if it’s a complicated problem. Longhorn is going to need this…

  7. When a Windows program crashes, Windows XP gives you the opportunity to send an error report to Microsoft. The process is called Online Crash Analysis. My advice: Do it. Here’s a perfect example of why it’s good for you and for your fellow PC users. For years, I’ve encountered a sporadic…

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