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Windows XP program crash boxes for any user are all shown to Administrators

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I have an interesting problem with a Windows XP setup involving "users" with restricted access rights and "Administrators" with full system access.

If a program crashes for a user, the standard crash notification is suppressed and the program just seems to end. When an Administrator logs in they then see ALL of the notifications. That's every crash on that machine since the admin last logged in, for every user, one at a time, with a few seconds of delay between each one. In one case we had a machine onto which an Administrator had not logged onto for nearly a year... needless to say there are a lot of crashes that can occur over the course of a year.

What on earth is causing this? Some googling has so far turned up nothing of use (seems to be a hard thing to find the right search terms for).

Thanks for any help provided.


I stumbled upon this link detailing a similar scenario. For Windows XP the option ForceQueueMode for error reporting is off. As I can find no such setting on our XP machines it must be off. Perhaps there is a group policy setting that has a similar name?

asked Apr 20, 2013 by anonymous  
I would investigate the Group Policies. Unfortunately, I can't give a more precise lead
I think Microsoft call this "Error Reporting" rather than "Crash Notification" which might help when searching and the standard configuration is via System Properties/Advanced/Error reporting. Is it possible that the errors you see when logged in as admin are actually all windows errors as opposed to application errors.
Thanks, I had thought of that but am currently coming up blank
Good suggestion, I had not tried that. It appears the messages are coming from a application process (it is known to us) and not Windows itself. The boxes are just the classic "Send Error Report", "Don't Send" type.

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Aha! Found it!

This indeed appears to be a Group Policy setting. Specifically, the setting Configure Error Reporting under Computer Configuration\Administrative Templates\Windows Components\Windows Error Reporting\ (this may be a slightly different path, e.g.Administrative Templates\System\Error Reporting, under Windows XP).

This setting contains several suboptions. One is Force queue mode for application errors. The description states:

  • ""Force queue mode for application errors"": Select this option if you do not want users to report errors. When this option is selected, errors are stored in a queue directory, and the next administrator to log on to the computer can send the error reports to Microsoft.

You can change this with the Group Policy Editor. If you are on a domain, you will likely need to change it on a domain controller (I am not familiar with Windows domain administration). For the local computer, launch gpedit.msc (also available under Administrative Tools in the Control Panel) and navigate to the previously mentioned setting.

If you are on a home version of Windows, you will not have access to the Group Policy editor. In that case, you can directly edit the registry key, which appears to beHKLM\Software\Policies\Microsoft\PCHealth\ErrorReporting!ForceQueueMode (source).

There is also a related TechNet article here.

answered Apr 20, 2013 by anonymous  
I think you posted at the same time I updated the question! The key does not appear on our boxes but perhaps adding it in set to zero will override the policy. I will try it!
Yea, I saw the update (great timing!). If that is the case, it's possible this answer does not apply to your specific scenario. Are the computers in question part of a domain? Do they all exhibit the same issue? Did it begin to occur at the same time? When did it start? Were the machines installed separately, or all at once? Are they clones, e.g. from the same disk image?
They are clones of a Windows XP Pro SP3 image and are not connected to a domain (and some are pretty old too). The second path exists apart from "Force queue mode for application errors" isn't listed.
You need to open Configure Error Reporting under that path (double click?). Those suboptions should be there.
Ah I see, silly me! The option does not appear to be set (it's "not configured") but will have a play. I'll mark this as an answer for now as it's pretty annoying to test without writing a little program to crash on purpose.