Registry keys to configure Watson and automatically save full dumps locally
You might have noticed that after installing Visual Studio the behavior of crashing programs changes – instead of the standard crash dialog you get the Visual Studio Just-In-Time Debugger:
The behavior of handling crashing programs can be controlled in the registry:
Windows Registry Editor Version 5.00
"Debugger"="\"C:\\windows\\system32\\vsjitdebugger.exe\" -p %ld -e %ld"
If Auto is not set or is set to 0, you get to choose whether to attach a debugger or not:
If Auto is set to 1, the JIT debugger dialog starts without the prompt above. Visual Studio sets the debugger to vsjitdebugger, which in turn lets you start a Visual Studio instance and attach to the crashing process.
Windows Error Reporting
Another useful registry branch that deals with watsons is:
[HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Windows\Windows Error Reporting]
[HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Windows\Windows Error Reporting\DebugApplications]
[HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Windows\Windows Error Reporting\LocalDumps]
Here’s a good MSDN article that describes these options:
To turn it off, set DontShowUI to 1 and set Disabled to 1 to stop sending reports to Microsoft.
LocalDumps is interesting. It configures Watson to automatically save a dump of the crashing process in the folder you specify and keep N latest dumps in that folder:
This is really useful if the process doesn’t show the Watson dialog, you can still get the dump for it. Just open your %LOCALAPPDATA%\CrashDumps folder and you’ll see the latest N dumps (I’ve set it to 32). DumpType is 1 for minimal, 2 for full.