I get, “The system has recovered from a serious error” message from time to time (see the screenshot) with two buttons: “Send Error Report” and “Don’t Send” regarding sending the report to Microsoft. The error message appears when an application runs into a problem it can’t handle. When this happens, XP stops the app and the error report prompt appears so you can send the error report to Microsoft if you’re connected to the Internet.
In the case of hardware or a driver (software managing hardware) attempts something that could cause problems, XP puts up that annoying BSOD (blue screen of death) and the computer is either restarted or you have to turn it off and back on. System error reports go to the Microsoft Online Crash Analysis Web site, aka MOCA. Go figure – the Web site drops the ‘M’ in the URL.
When one of them error report windows pops up and you decide to let it send a report to Microsoft, be sure you’re connected to the Internet before hitting the “Send Error Report” button. Behind the scenes, XP creates a short message describing the error and provides additional information such as operating system version, failure type, language, cause of the problem, etc. to help Microsoft resolve the problem. The message is encrypted.
In the error report window, there is a link “click here” for seeing what the data report contains. After you send the report, you’ll get a message from MOCA with the steps on how to solve the problem and other information depending on the problem. Such information could be links to downloading updated drivers and how to prevent the problem from happening again.
What about when getting errors from a non-Microsoft application or hardware? MOCA reports these errors to the company behind the application or device, so it can be helpful to send these forward. So those of you who never send non-Microsoft-related errors might want to reconsider.
You can also use MOCA to track errors when you get BSODed. This Microsoft Knowledgebase article describes the error reporting tool.
Many people don’t use the reporting tool at all because of privacy concerns. We’ve heard plenty of jokes about how Microsoft knows everything about everyone who has a computer. You can read Microsoft’s error privacy information to get exact details on what Microsoft learns about your computer when getting such reports.
Error reporting is not just for Microsoft, but pays off for you since it can help reduce the problems with your computer when you get the error resolution messages back from MOCA. You can turn off error reporting, but I don’t recommend it.