What this feature does
The Microsoft Error Reporting Service helps Microsoft and Windows partners diagnose problems in the software you use and provide solutions. Not all problems have solutions, but when solutions are available, they are offered as steps to solve a problem you’ve reported or as updates to install. To help prevent problems and make software more reliable, some solutions are also included in service packs and future versions of the software.
The Microsoft Error Reporting Service also provides Setup Repair, an error reporting service that may run during Windows setup if a problem occurs.
Information collected, processed, or transmitted
Many Microsoft software programs, including Windows 7, are designed to work with the reporting service. If a problem occurs in one of these software programs, you might be asked if you want to report it. If you host virtual machines using a Windows operating system, reports generated by the Windows operating system for the Microsoft Error Reporting Service might include information about virtual machines.
The reporting service collects the information that is useful for diagnosing and solving the problem that has occurred, such as:
Where the problem happened in the software or hardware
The type or severity of the problem
Files that help describe the problem
Basic software and hardware information
Possible software performance and compatibility problems
These reports might unintentionally contain personal information. For example, a report that contains a snapshot of computer memory might also include your name, part of a document you were working on, or data that you recently submitted to a website. If a report is likely to contain this type of information, Windows will ask if you want to send this information, even if you have enabled automatic reporting through the "Recommended settings" option in setup, or in Control Panel. This gives you the opportunity to review the report before sending it to Microsoft. Reports including files and data might be stored on your computer until you have an opportunity to review and send them, or after they have been sent.
If an error report contains personal information, Microsoft does not use the information to identify you or contact you. In addition, if you enable automatic reporting through the "Recommended settings" option in setup, or in the Control Panel, the reporting service will send basic information about where problems occur automatically, but these reports will not have the details described above.
After you send a report, the reporting service might ask you for more information about the error you experienced. If you choose to provide your phone number or e-mail address in this information, your error report will be personally identifiable. Microsoft might contact you to request additional information to help solve the problem you reported.
The Microsoft Error Reporting Service generates a globally unique identifier (GUID) that is stored on your computer and sent with error reports to uniquely identify your computer. The GUID is a randomly generated number; it does not contain any personal information and is not used to identify you. We use the GUID to distinguish how widespread the feedback we receive is and how to prioritize it. For example, the GUID allows Microsoft to distinguish between one customer experiencing a problem one hundred times and one hundred customers experiencing the same problem once.
Use of information
Microsoft uses information about errors and problems to improve Microsoft products and services as well as third-party software and hardware designed for use with these products and services. Microsoft employees, contractors, vendors, and partners might be provided access to information collected by the reporting service. However, they will use the information only to repair or improve Microsoft products and services and third-party software and hardware designed for use with Microsoft products and services.
Microsoft might share aggregate information about errors and problems. Microsoft uses aggregate information for statistical analysis. Aggregate information does not contain specific information from individual reports, nor does it include any personal or confidential information that might have been collected from a report.
Choice and control
If you choose the recommended settings during
Windows 7 setup, you turn on automatic checking for solutions, which will send basic error reports and look for solutions to the problems reported. If you use automatic checking, you are not typically prompted to send basic information about errors to Microsoft. If a more detailed error report is required, you will be prompted to review it. You can change this setting at any time by going to Action Center in Control Panel.
For more information, see the Privacy Statement for the Microsoft Error Reporting Service.