Friday, April 13, 2007

Send Error Report...Where?

The other day a friend of mine asked me, “When Outlook crashes I get that silly message that asks me if I want to send something to Microsoft. Where do those go? Do they ever do anything?” It was funny to me that I always did what most people do, hit the ENTER key which triggers the Don’t Send button. I’ve sent error reports in the past, but there wasn’t a feedback loop that came back to me with any information. Ever. Why waste my time with this dialog box if you aren’t ever going to give me something helpful?

I went online to learn more and found the Microsoft Online Crash Analysis (MOCA) website. Here you can upload your error report for analysis. Unfortunately you will only get feedback IF there are a lot of other people with the same error. Here’s the official message:

Microsoft actively analyzes all error reports and prioritizes them based on the number of customers affected by the Stop error covered in the error report. We will try to determine the cause of the Stop error you submit, categorize it according to the type of issue encountered, and send you relevant information when such information is identified. You can check the status of your error report for 180 days after the date it was originally reported. However, because error reports do not always contain enough information to positively identify the source of the issue, we might need to collect a number of similar error reports from other customers before a pattern is discovered, or follow up with you further to gather additional information.

Huh? Who are they writing this for? I can't imagine many people understanding this. Who knows about this website? Who would know how to perform this process? Why is this so disconnected from the actual error message? Instead of highlighting the Don’t Send button and pushing me to ignore these crashes, it would be nice if Microsoft explained the process, easily sent the report to MOCA and got back to me regardless of what they found.


John S said...

Somewhere, somehow, someone must be responsible for overseeing the whole Send Error Report process. Can we launch a search for this person or persons? I have this image in my head of the "Land of the Misfit Toys" with Send Error Reports piling up. There must be a cartoon in this somewhere. Thanks for the investigation!

Michael Grossman said...

I can envision a mashup of Logan's Run and the Land of the Misfit Toys here with Box (RIP Roscoe Lee Browne) as the overseer of incoming error reports to store. Throw in a scene of the error reports then being destroyed by Carousel.