A+ Certification / Beginners

Error Diagnostic Tools

The following sections examine the different tools you can use when diagnosing errors.

Dr. Watson

Dr. Watson, which was first included with Windows 3.x, has been designed to help troubleshoot problems on your system. It helps troubleshoot problems after they have occurred by generating log files and system snapshots.

For the Windows 9x operating system, Dr. Watson records extremely detailed information about what processes are currently running. This information is stored on the tabs that are located across the top of the Dr. Watson window. It breaks these processes into categories such as MS-DOS, 16-bit Windows, and 32-bit Windows. The Diagnosis tab allows the user to record additional information about what he or she was doing when the error occurred. Entering this information may be useful during the troubleshooting process. To load Dr. Watson for Windows 9x, use Start → Run and type drwatson.exe. Dr. Watson then shows up in your system tray.

Configure Dr. Watson in a Windows XP computer by running drwtsn32.exe from the Run command. Dr. Watson is capable of taking the entire contents of an applications memory space, and writing that information to a file on your disk, also called a crash dump file. This may be useful for the application developer to troubleshoot the error. Dr. Watson also logs and creates crash dump files for a variety of OS background services, which are really just applications. With Windows XP, Dr. Watson is always ready to generate these logs and crash dump files.

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