Tuesday, October 31, 2006

Don't forget the event viewer

I had a customer report several crashes with Weather Message 3.0. Each time the program crashed, he was asked whether to send debugging information to Microsoft. He tried that a couple of times and asked me if I had received the information. The answer was no. I don't subsribe to that service from Microsoft.

I asked that he snap me a picture of the crash information. After reviewing a couple of those, I could not determine the nature of the problem. That "microsoft box" would not allow him to copy the entire error message. We went back and forth for a couple of weeks to no avail.

I finally asked him to look at the event viewer to see if he could find an entry when the crash occurred. I had forgotten that the CLR (the .net common language runtime) makes entries in the event view for some error conditions. Yes --- he found entries and sent them to me right away.

After looking at the information for 2 minutes, I quickly discovered that the faulting module was mclsp.dll. This dll has nothing to do with Weather Message, but everything to do with McAfee firewalls and tcp/ip. Apparently it has some problem --- the user is now investigating that and promises to give me an update.

All of the Weather Message programs attempt to capture error conditions and report them to the user before shutting down. Most are recorded in a log file, if the program has a log file, or a file with the extension ".log".

In situations where the application is not given the chance to handle the error, remember to look at the event viewer to see if the CLR made an entry. This can make running down an error a lot faster.

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