Use Windows Error Reporting to help solve computer problems

You can use Windows Error Reporting to report computer problems to Microsoft. Microsoft uses the problem reports to try to match descriptions of each problem to a solution. Windows will notify you when there are steps you can take to solve the problem or to find more information using Action Center. If a solution is not available yet, the information that you send in a problem report can help Microsoft find or create a new solution.

Find solutions to computer problems

When a solution is available for a problem reported by your computer, it will appear in Action Center. In addition, you'll see a message in the notification area, or if you hover over the Action Center icon.

Open Action Center by clicking the Start button Picture of the Start button, clicking Control Panel, and then, under System and Security, clicking Review your computer's status.

If solutions are available to computer problems, they will appear under the Security or Maintenance sections in Action Center.

Picture of Action Center
Action Center notifies you when items need your attention

When you open a solution, you'll see specific directions about how to solve or mitigate the problem your computer reported. Typically, these solutions are color coded yellow or red. If a solution is yellow, this indicates you should try to fix the problem, but there is no immediate threat to your computer. A red solution indicates that there is a security threat or potential data loss if a problem is not corrected.

Working with a solution

Four different types of solutions appear in the Action Center:

  • Downloadable solutions. You can download a file to fix the problem.

  • Procedural solution. You can follow steps to fix or work around the problem. The steps might include a download, or you might have the option to disable certain features of a program to work around the problem.

  • Troubleshooting solution. You can follow steps to troubleshoot the problem, including running diagnostic programs, to help you identify the cause of the problem. This type of solution might not solve the problem.

  • Recommendation solution. For this type of solution, there isn't a known way to fix the problem. However, there are recommended steps that might solve or mitigate the problem, such as updating to the latest version of a program.

To see all the problems that apply to a solution and the number of times a specific problem occurred, click View all problems this applies to.

If you don't want to view a solution again, click Archive this message. This moves the message into the archived messages section, and you won't receive it again in Action Center, even if your computer experiences the same problem. To learn more about how to work with messages in the archive, see Why do some solutions or problem reports stop showing up in Action Center?

What you should do if you aren't getting solutions

If your computer is having problems, but you're not seeing any solutions in Action Center, you might not have Problem Reporting turned on. To check if your computer is reporting problems, follow these steps:

  1. Open Action Center by clicking the Start button Picture of the Start button, clicking Control Panel, and then, under System and Security, clicking Review your computer's status.

  2. Click Maintenance, and then, under Check for solutions to problem reports, click Settings.

    Error Reporting is turned on if one of the following options is selected:

    • Automatically check for solutions (recommended)

    • Automatically check for solutions and send additional report data, if needed

    • Each time a problem occurs, ask me before checking for solutions

For more information about these options, see Choose the information to send when a problem occurs.

What if I'm unable to solve a problem?

If your computer is having problems and you've applied all the solutions that Action Center has presented to you, there are a few things you can try:

  • Submit feedback about the solution that didn't work. The more details you can include, the better.

  • Make sure your programs are up to date. We recommend you update Windows and your other software on a regular basis. Many updates include solutions to common problems that customers have reported. For more information about how to keep your computer up to date, see How can I tell if my computer is up to date?

  • Make sure your antivirus and anti-malware programs are up to date. Many problems are the result of viruses and malware. For more information about how to protect your computer, see Using anti-malware software to help protect your computer.

  • Troubleshooting in Control Panel contains several troubleshooting programs that can automatically fix several common problems with your computer, such as problems with networking, hardware and devices, using the web, and program compatibility.

    Open Troubleshooting by clicking the Start button Picture of the Start button, clicking Control Panel, and then, under System and Security, clicking Find and fix problems.