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How to disable or enable Dr. Watson for Windows

Support for Windows XP has ended

Microsoft ended support for Windows XP on April 8, 2014. This change has affected your software updates and security options. Learn what this means for you and how to stay protected.

Support for Windows Server 2003 ended on July 14, 2015

Microsoft ended support for Windows Server 2003 on July 14, 2015. This change has affected your software updates and security options. Learn what this means for you and how to stay protected.

This article describes how to disable and re-enable the Dr. Watson programfor Windows.
More information
Important This section, method, or task contains steps that tell you how to modify the registry. However, serious problems might occur if you modify the registry incorrectly. Therefore, make sure that you follow these steps carefully. For added protection, back up the registry before you modify it. Then, you can restore the registry if a problem occurs. For more information about how to back up and restore the registry, click the following article number to view the article in the Microsoft Knowledge Base:
322756 How to back up and restore the registry in Windows
Note Because there are several versions of Microsoft Windows, the following steps may be different on your computer. If they are, see your product documentation to complete these steps.

To have us fix this problem for you, go to the "Here's an easy fix" section. If you prefer to fix this problem manually, go to the "Let me fix it myself" section.

Here's an easy fix

To fix this problem automatically, click the Download button. In the File Download dialog box, click Run or Open, and then follow the steps in the easy fix wizard.
  • This wizard may be in English only. However, the automatic fix also works for other language versions of Windows.
  • If you’re not on the computer that has the problem, save the easy fix solution to a flash drive or a CD, and then run it on the computer that has the problem.
Disable Dr. Watson

Enable Dr. Watson

Let me fix it myself

To disable Dr. Watson

  1. Click Start, click Run, type regedit.exe in the Open box, and then click OK.
  2. Locate and then click the following registry key:  
    HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\Software\Microsoft\Windows NT\CurrentVersion\AeDebug
    NOTE: Steps three and four are optional, However, they are necessary if you want to restore the default use of Dr. Watson. 
  3. Click the AeDebug key, and then click Export Registry File on the Registry menu.
  4. Type a name and location for the saved registry file, and then click  Save.
  5. Delete the AeDebug key.
Registry entries for debugger programs are located in the AeDebug key in Windows. The Dr. Watson program is installed by default in Windows, and is configured to run when an application error occurs (with a data value of 1 for the Auto value). The default values are as follows:
Value Name = Auto
Type = String (REG_SZ)
Data Value = 1 or 0. (Default is 1)

Value Name = Debugger
Type = String (REG_SZ)
Data Value = drwtsn32 -p %ld -e %ld -g

NOTE: This data value (drwtsn32 -p %ld -e %ld -g) is specific to Dr. Watson. Alternative debuggers will have their own values and parameters.

To enable Dr. Watson

  1. At a command prompt, type the following line, and then press ENTER:

    drwtsn32 -i
  2. Double-click the .reg file that you created in steps three and four that were discussed earlier.

id this fix the problem?

Check whether the problem is fixed. If the problem is fixed, you are finished with this section. If the problem is not fixed, you can contact support.
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Article ID: 188296 - Last Review: 09/25/2015 08:42:00 - Revision: 6.0

  • Microsoft Windows XP Home Edition
  • Microsoft Windows XP Professional
  • Microsoft Windows Server 2003, Standard Edition (32-bit x86)
  • Microsoft Windows Server 2003, Enterprise Edition (32-bit x86)
  • Microsoft Windows 2000 Server
  • Microsoft Windows 2000 Advanced Server
  • Microsoft Windows 2000 Professional Edition
  • Microsoft Windows NT Workstation 4.0 Developer Edition
  • Microsoft Windows NT Server 4.0 Standard Edition
  • Microsoft Windows NT Server 4.0 Enterprise Edition
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