How to: Disable Error Reporting on Windows XP and Windows Server 2003

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Turning off Error Reporting

Many folks I meet who use XP or 2003 constantly tell me how annoying it is to see that error reporting dialog box spring up when their Windows system seemed to be having problems. It is actually very easy to remove from view completely, never to be seen again. You can also re-enable it very quickly if you do want to use it. This article covers error reporting, how to disable it, modify it or re-enable it.

Error Reporting is easy to enable or disable. It can be found by going to your System Properties. This can be found by going to your System applet in the Control panel or by hitting your Windows Key on your keyboard and holding it down, then selecting the Pause/Break button simultaneously. This will open your System Properties as well. You want to view the Advanced tab.

On the bottom you can see the ‘Error Reporting’ button. This will open the Error Reporting Dialog box.

As you can see from my system, it is already disabled, but I can also specify that I still would like to be notified regardless if a critical error occurs. Yes, you can probably set this to ‘out of sight out of mind’, but I highly suggest against that unless you constantly check your error logs.

You can enable, disable, or modify the way that error reporting works on a Windows XP-based computer. When an error occurs, a dialog box is displayed that prompts you to report the problem to Microsoft. If you want to report the problem, technical information about the problem is sent to Microsoft over the Internet, that’s it. If you are not connected to the Internet, then nothing is sent.

Enable Error Reporting

By default Error Reporting is enabled. Since I showed you how to disable it already, let’s look at how to re-enable it and modify it. To enable and configure the error reporting feature, simply select Enable error reporting from the Error Reporting dialog box.

Remember, by default, error reporting is enabled. To disable it, click Disable error reporting. To continue to be notified when errors occur without being prompted to report the errors, click to select the But notify me when critical errors occur check box.

You can specify whether you want to use error reporting for the Windows operating system, for programs, or for both Windows and programs, in this case – select both. You can see that you are able to Choose Programs, and choosing them is as easy as browsing for executable program files you want to enable error reporting on.

If you want to add reporting to very select programs, you can click on ‘Add’ in the programs section of the bottom of the dialog box – once you do, you can browse to any executable file you want to add for reporting.

You can select any programs and ‘Remove’ it just as easily.

Microsoft stands firmly behind their privacy policy that any information sent using this tool is anonymous and private. Disabling of this tool should be for the reason to remove it from view if you do not want to be bothered with it. This is not a security tweak.


In this article we covered the basics of how to remove error reporting features on Windows XP and Windows Server 2003 systems. Error reporting is when your system attempts to connect to Microsoft’s website to send a report of the problem you are experiencing in hopes to help fix it by documenting it. You may have systems where you want to turn off this functionality for reasons of annoyance, or functionality. This article showed you step by step how to turn off this feature, modify it and re-enable it if needed.

Links and Reference Material

Microsoft Error Reporting and Data Collection Policy:   

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