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Corporate Error Reporting for SQL Server 2000 SP3 and SQL Server 2000 (64bit)

Updated : February 28, 2003

November 26 2002

On This Page

Error Reporting Overview
Corporate Error Reporting
Additional Information and Links

Error Reporting Overview

Since its introduction as a feature of Microsoft Windows XP, Online Error Reporting has been successful in helping Microsoft resolve code defects encountered by customers. SQL Server 2000 Service Pack 3 adopts this technology to provide the ability to send application crash information to Microsoft. Crash information is sent to Microsoft by a client-side executable called DW15.EXE, which supports applications such as SQL Server 2000 SP3 that ship with Error Reporting technology. DW15.EXE announces in a user dialog box that an error has occurred; if the user chooses to send the report to Microsoft, it establishes a connection with watson.microsoft.com on port 80 (using HTTP), and then sends the report securely via port 443 (using HTTPS).

SQL Server Engine, SQL Agent, and OLAP Server run as services. In many cases, the servers hosting these services do not have real-time monitoring, hence it is more appropriate for error reporting to take place in silent mode. As such, Error Reporting obtains permission to collect the information ahead of time, either during the Setup phase of SQL Server 2000 SP3, or by checking the relevant check-box on the Server Properties window via Enterprise Manager or Analysis Manager.

For Error Reporting to work, the client must have a valid Internet connection. If the Internet connection fails, the Error Reporting client fails silently and does not report the crash.

Corporate Error Reporting

Overview

In a corporate environment, it may be important to consolidate and review data before it is sent to Microsoft, based on the contents of the crash report. Error reporting collection server (Watson.Microsoft.com) may request additional data, which could return a document, file, or other sensitive user information that corporations want filtered. Although the end user can view all data before the error report is delivered to Microsoft, he may not fully understand internal corporate security policies. Corporate environments can be controlled by implementing Corporate Error Reporting (CER).

CER redirects reports to an internal server within the organization where the report can be stored. In addition, with CER, administrators can view the collected data and synchronize and filter it before forwarding the data to Microsoft. Administrators can collect data on problems with products that report crashes and transmit crash data on only selected crash buckets. They can also evaluate solutions before they reach the Error Reporting clients. CER also allows the administrator to reference collected crash data encountered in the corporate environment for analysis at a later time.

Corporate Error Reporting requires configuring each Error Reporting client through policies that set the appropriate registry keys and values. Error Reporting clients look for these policy keys before sending any reports to Microsofts Watson site. If the Error Reporting Client finds a policy key to redirect the report, it uses a remote procedure call to forward the crash report to a folder structure (FileTreeRoot) on the share. The Error Reporting client is redirected to the CER share (FileTreeRoot) via the Universal Naming Convention (UNC) pathname.

Note Error Reporting crash reports cannot pass through a traditional firewall unless a Virtual Network Channel (VNC) is used to create a network conduit between firewall routers.

If the UNC path (CER share) is unavailable, the Error Reporting client fails to send the report. No error is generated/reported for this failure of crash report transmittal. The CER reporting share could be unavailable for multiple reasons including denial of permission to the credentials of the Error reporting client. SQL Server, SQL Agent, and OLAP Server use the logon credentials as set in the Log On tab of the Service Properties dialog in the Component Services under Administrative Tools (WinXp Prof).

System Requirements and Installation

The Corporate Error Reporting server and the FileTreeRoot share require an NTFS partition on Windows NT 4.0 Sp6a, Windows 2000, Windows XP, or later.

The Corporate Error Reporting server is a folder structure for collecting crash reports. The Error Reporting client accesses the folder through a network share. The network share is considered the FileTreeRoot, and can have any name desired. The share can be hidden with the $ variable if desired.

When Error Reporting is configured for CER, it looks for the following subfolders in the FileTreeRoot: Cabs, Counts, and Status. Permissions are specified in the Help section of the CER tool.

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Alternatively, the administrator can manually create the FileTreeRoot and subfolders on an NTFS partition; however, the Corporate Error Reporting tool has the option to create the FileTreeRoot and its subfolders; this option is the preferred mechanism for CER share creation. The Administrator using CER Version 1.5 need only share the FileTreeRoot on the network to the Everyone Group with Full Control.

The hardware and software requirements for running both the Corporate Error Reporting utility and a Corporate Error Reporting server are as follows:

Operating System

Windows NT4.0 SP6a, Windows 2000, Windows XP, or later

Computer/Processor

133 MHz or higher Pentium-compatible CPU

Memory

64 megabytes (MB) of RAM minimum; more memory generally improves responsiveness

Hard Disk

A minimum of 2GB of free space for the CER share/ FileTreeRoot

File System

NTFS for the CER share/ FileTreeRoot

You can download the Corporate Error Reporting tool from http://oca.microsoft.com/en/Welcome.aspx.

To install and configure the Corporate Error Reporting tool, you must be logged on with Administrator privileges. Follow these steps:

  1. Double-click CER15.MSI. The Corporate Error Reporting Setup Wizard launches, and then guides you through the installation process.

  2. To start the program after installation, click Start, point to Programs, and then click Corporate Error Reporting.

  3. Create the FileTreeRoot. On the File menu, click Create File Tree. In the Browse for Folder window, select an appropriate location and name for the FileTreeRoot folder, and then click OK.

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Configuration

Active Directory base Group Policy templates are available to enable Corporate Error Reporting. Group Policy can be applied to Active Directory sites, domains, and organizational units (OUs). Similar methods are used to apply Group Policy across sites, domains, and OUs.

For more information about Active Directory and Active Directory Group Policy, visit:

Configuring Redirection of Error Reporting Clients Using Active Directory Group Policy Objects

This section describes how to redirect Error Reporting clients using Active Directory Group Policy objects.

Note Before beginning this section, ensure that you have created an OU to house the computer accounts for the Error Reporting clients. You can give this OU any name.

Note Group Policy Settings apply to all computer objects within the OU. If you do not want these settings applied to all computers within the current OU, create a new OU within the Active Directory domain, and move the desired computer accounts into the new OU first before creating the Group Policy Settings.

Before proceeding, you must upgrade the system.adm file in the %systemroot%\INF folder to support Group Policies for Windows XP. For more information, see "Windows XP Client Policies Through Windows 2000 Active Directory Services," later in this document.

  1. Click Start, click Run and type DSA.MSC. Active Directory Users and Computers opens.

  2. In the console tree, expand the domain node (e.g., corp.microsoft.com) and navigate to the OU that contains the computer accounts for the Error Reporting clients. Right-click the OU, select Properties, and then click the Group Policy tab.

  3. On the Group Policy tab, click New. In the resulting dialog box, type CER Client Redirection and click OK.

  4. Select the CER Client Redirection Group Policy Object (GPO), and click Edit. The Group Policy Editor (GPE) console launches for this GPO.

  5. In the console tree, expand Computer Configuration node.

  6. Expand the Administrative Templates node.

  7. Expand the System node.

  8. Expand the Error Reporting node.

  9. Open the Report Errors property sheet.

  10. Click Enabled.

  11. In the Corporate upload file path box, enter the UNC path to the FileFolderTree share.

  12. Click OK.

  13. Close the Group Policy Editor dialog box.

  14. Click OK to close the Group Policy Properties dialog box.

Note This policy normally takes effect upon restart. However, you can force policy application using the following command at the Command prompt: GPUPDATE /FORCE

Configuring Error Reporting Clients Individually Using Local Computer Policy

Sometimes Active Directory has not been implemented inside an organization, or an administrator wants to configure Corporate Error Reporting on a per machine basis. The following section describes how to do this using Local Computer policy on Windows XP and higher.

Note Because this method is applied on a per machine basis, you must repeat the following steps for every Error Reporting client. Should central configuration of these settings be required, use Active Directory Group Policy, discussed in the previous section.

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To add a group policy to enable redirection of Windows Error Reporting on Windows XP or later, follow these steps:

  1. Click Start, click Run, and then type GPEDIT.MSC. The Group Policy Object Editor opens.

  2. In the console tree, expand the Computer Configuration node.

  3. Expand the Administrative Templates node.

  4. Expand the System node.

  5. Expand the Error Reporting node.

  6. Open the Report Errors property sheet.

  7. Click Enabled.

  8. In the Corporate upload file path box, enter the UNC path to the FileFolderTree.

  9. Click OK.

Setting Windows XP Client Policies Through Windows 2000 Active Directory Services

Note: The procedures below are for a Windows 2000 Server computer, which is one of the domain controllers (preferably the primary domain controller).

Windows XP Professional supports a superset of the Group Policy features supported by Windows 2000. The system.adm file on the computer (running Windows 2000 Server) where the new Group Policy Object (GPO) is created for Windows XP clients has to be upgraded for the additional support of Windows XP policies.

If you upgrade an Active Directory GPO to support the new Windows XP policy settings, Windows 2000-based clients ignore any Windows XP-specific settings. This behavior occurs on a per-setting level: if a policy object contains an unsupported policy setting, all other supported policy settings from that policy object still apply.

To upgrade the system.adm file on the machine where the new GPO for Windows XP clients is being created, follow these steps:

  1. On the Windows 2000 family server where the new GPO is being created for Windows XP clients, browse to a Windows XP client's %systemdrive% (typically c$) and navigate to the %systemroot%\INF folder. The %systemroot% is the Windows folder.

  2. Within the INF folder, select and copy the system.adm file.

  3. Open the %systemroot%\INF folder on the Windows 2000 server you are working from and paste the system.adm file into the root of the local INF folder.

  4. In the Confirm Replace File dialog box, click Yes.

  5. Close all open dialog boxes.

To upgrade an existing GPO after upgrading the system.adm using a Windows XP system.adm file, follow these steps:

  1. Click Start, click Run, and type mmc. Click OK.

    The Microsoft Management Console opens.

  2. On the Console menu, click Add/Remove Snap-in.

  3. In the Add/Remove Snap-in dialog box, click Add.

  4. In the Add Standalone Snap-in dialog box, click Group Policy, and then click Add.

  5. In the Select Group Policy Object dialog box, Local Computer appears as the target object. Click Browse, select the GPO that you want to upgrade, and then click OK.

    Note When you click Browse, a delay may occur while Windows searches for the policy objects in the domain.

  6. Click Close, and then click OK.

You can now adjust the policy settings in this policy object by using the Group Policy console from the Windows XP-based client.

Additional Information and Links

For more information on policies and policy templates as they apply to this document, see the following Knowledge Base articles:

For more information on Corporate Error Reporting and Online Crash Analysis, visit http://oca.microsoft.com/en/Welcome.aspx.

To review Microsofts Data Collection Policy, visit http://watson.microsoft.com/dw/1033/dcp.asp.

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