Windows 7 / Getting Started

Using Windows Error Reporting

When a device driver or device install fails for any reason, the user is prompted to send information to Microsoft using WER, where Microsoft, ISVs, and IHVs can analyze the information and provide updated drivers if needed. When a user makes a report, an entry is created on the WER site, logging the problem. Data is collected for the following types of device installation failures:

  • Device errors Errors with distinct Device Manager codes.
  • Import errors Problems staging device drivers.
  • Install errors Reported when a driver has successfully staged but fails to install when the device is connected to the system.
  • Driver not found Reported when a matching driver package cannot be located.
  • Driver protection errors WRP processing errors: driver is flagged as protected but fails to meet criteria.
  • Generic driver found Reported when a specific driver for a device is not available and Windows Vista installs a generic driver.
  • Windows Update errors When a user encounters one of these errors and elects to report it, additional data is collected. The data gathered depends on the nature of the problem.

In each case, WER tracks the following information:

  • Number of users (hits) who have seen the same problem in the last 30 days
  • Number of hits per locale (English, German, French, and so on)
  • Number of hits by operating system version
  • Total number of hits
  • Bugs filed on this problem

Developers use the information gathered to track high-profile driver requests and petition manufacturers to provide drivers through either Windows Update or the WER interface itself. Both internal Microsoft employees and manufacturers have access to WER data and the Winqual site found at If a driver becomes available, it can be added to the response portion of the WER interface. After users elect to report the data, they are prompted to fill out a survey. (Note that if the IHV or ISV creates a response for the given error, the user can see the response without filling out a survey.) This response may be edited to provide a link to the driver on the third-party Web site, which should decrease the number of support calls requesting drivers for devices.

Note By default, Windows 7 sends a Windows error report when a generic driver is installed on a device. You can use Group Policy to modify this behavior. See the section titled "Managing Device Installation Behavior" earlier in this tutorial for more information.

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In this tutorial:

  1. Managing Devices and Services
  2. Understanding Device Installation and Management
  3. Device Enhancements in Windows 7
  4. Display Enhancements in Windows 7
  5. Understanding Device Installation
  6. Driver Store and Driver Packaging
  7. Driver Staging vs Installation
  8. Driver Staging and Installation Process
  9. Detailed Installation Process
  10. Managing Driver Packages
  11. Using PnPutil.exe
  12. Using Dism.exe
  13. Driver Signing
  14. Driver Ranking
  15. Installing and Using Devices
  16. Enhancements to the Device Installation Experience in Windows 7
  17. Scenario 1: Driver found in Driver Store
  18. Scenario 2: Driver found on Windows Update
  19. Scenario 3: Driver in Driver Store, But Better Driver on Windows Update
  20. Scenario 5: No Driver Can Be Found for the device
  21. Scenario 6: Vendor -supplied media is available
  22. Scenario 7: Additional Device Software is Available For Download from vendor
  23. Configuring Device Installation Settings
  24. Using the Devices And Printers Folder
  25. Understanding Device Stage
  26. Understanding the Device Experience Architecture
  27. Device Containers
  28. Device display object
  29. Device Metadata System
  30. Managing Device Installation Using Group Policy
  31. Managing Device Installation Behavior
  32. Managing Driver Installation Behavior
  33. Blocking Installation of Removable Devices
  34. Managing Device Redirection Behavior
  35. Troubleshooting Device Installation
  36. Using Windows Error Reporting
  37. Using the SetupAPI Log File
  38. Using Driver INF Files
  39. Using Device Manager Error Codes
  40. Using Driver Verifier
  41. Repairing Driver Store Corruption
  42. Repairing Index File Corruption
  43. Understanding Power Management
  44. Power Management Enhancements in Windows 7
  45. New Power Policies in Windows 7
  46. Configuring Power Management Settings
  47. Configuring Power Management Settings Using the Power Options Utility in Control Panel
  48. Configuring Power Management Settings Using Group Policy
  49. Configuring Power Management Settings Using the Powercfg Utility
  50. Understanding Services
  51. Service Enhancements in Windows 7
  52. Managing Services
  53. Managing Services Using Task Manager
  54. Managing Services Using the Sc.exe Command