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Windows 8.1: The Missing Manual by David Pogue

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Troubleshooting Tools

These days, a first-time Windows user probably doesn’t even know what you mean by the phrase “blue screen of death.” PCs don’t crash nearly as often as they used to.

But there are still a million things that can go wrong—and about a million troubleshooting tools to help you, or somebody you’ve begged to help you, solve them. Here’s the, ahem, crash course.

Automatic Error Reporting

In the Windows XP days, every time a program crashed, a dialog box asked if you wanted to send details of the crash, anonymously, to Microsoft. Maybe, just maybe, the cumulative stream of these reports might lead some programmer somewhere to detect a pattern—and fix his darned bug.

In Windows 8.1, you can tell your PC to send those reports to Microsoft automatically—without interrupting or bothering you—or not to send them at all. You can also look over a running diary of all the crashes you’ve had.

To fiddle with these settings, open the Action Center. (Click the on your taskbar system tray, and click Open Action Center.) Expand the Maintenance section, if necessary, and then click Settings. Proceed as shown in Figure 21-16.

Here’s where you approve or deny the automatic crash reporting feature of Windows. Or use the third option, which means “Send it, but ask me first.” (The second option means “If some crash log or other file—which doesn’t contain identifying information—is required, then go ahead and upload that without asking me.”)

Figure 21-16. Here’s where you approve or deny the automatic crash reporting feature of Windows. Or use the third option, which means “Send it, but ask me first.” (The ...

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