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Querying the Windows Error Reporting Service
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Now that we have created an account and mapped our 08SimpleExcexe binary to a product, it s time to look at how we can query WER for uploaded error reports Let s run our 08SimpleExcexe application several times and when it crashes, tell Dr Watson to upload the error information to the WER site Note that there is a time delay between the time that a user uploads a report and when it becomes available to view After the error reports have been uploaded and made available to you, you will see a table of products on the Product Rollup page, as illustrated in Figure 8-18 Figure 8-18 shows the product we mapped (Advanced NET Debugging) as well as the total number of events that have been reported Additionally, the Eventlist and Hotlist
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Figure 8-18 Product Rollup with error events columns contain icons that display all the events that have occurred for that particular product as well as the top error events that have occurred over the last 90 days The hot list is a convenient way to identify the top issues with the product Figure 8-19 illustrates the event list page that is displayed when clicking on the event list icon The event list page contains a table where each row represents a unique error event In Figure 8-19, we can see that there is only one event with a total hit count of 2 The table also shows what type of event caused the report; in our case, the event type is CLR20 Managed Crash, which simply means that the event occurred due to a crash in a managed application based on CLR version 20 If you click on the event ID, you will see a breakdown of information related to that particular event The event details page is broken down into three main sections:
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Event Signature Because one product can have multiple events associated with it, each event must be made unique The different pieces of information that make an event unique are: Application name and version, module name and version, and the offset into the module that caused the event to occur As you can see from Figure 8-20, the offset into the 08SimpleExcexe module that caused the crash was 4734 Event Time Trending Details The graph displayed in the Event Time Trending Details section shows how the event manifested itself over time In Figure 8-20, we can see that our event spiked on March 16th and gradually decreased in frequency over time Platform details The last section shows the platform details for the specific event It shows the operating system breakout as well as language breakout This section is critical when trying to identify problems that only occur under certain configurations and can yield clues such as the event only occurring on non-English versions of the product
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Figure 8-19 Event list for Advanced NET Debugging
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Figure 8-20 Event details for 08simpleExcexe
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Figure 8-21 Data collection section Figure 8-20 illustrates the data that is displayed for 08SimpleExcexe The events details page also contains a Cab data collection section, shown in Figure 8-21 The Data Collection section allows you to either go to the list of available Cabs for the particular event by clicking on the Cab Status icon, or to make changes to the data collection policy for the particular event by clicking on the Data Request icon Figure 8-22 illustrates the data collection policy window
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Figure 8-22 Data collection policy
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Figure 8-23 Event response options Remember, when a fault occurs in an application, the machine on which the fault occurred contacts WER to check on the data collection policy If the policy has changed and requires a new upload, the client machine creates a Cab according to the policy and uploads it to WER The data collection policy window allows you to specify additional information to be collected in this process In addition to system information, heap memory can be collected as well as additional files based on a predefined set of environment variables Finally, you also have the ability to specify how many additional Cabs should be collected using this new policy The last important column in the table illustrated in Figure 8-19 is the Cabs column Clicking the icon gives a list of Cabs available for the event A Cab is nothing more than a conglomerate of files that represent the event information (one Cab per upload) sent by users who choose to upload the information to Microsoft One of the most critical files in the Cab is the dump file that was generated at the point of failure This dump file can be used while debugging the problem postmortem as explained previously Now that we have looked at the various pieces of information accessible through the WER Web site, everything from a high-level overview of the events to a more detailed drilldown using the information the customer uploaded to Microsoft, we next turn our attention to the last critical step in the process: how to provide responses to customers after the issue has been understood
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