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Description of the end user privacy policy in application error reporting when you are using Office

Support for Office 2003 has ended

Microsoft ended support for Office 2003 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.

This article was previously published under Q283768
Microsoft Office offers a new, easy-to-use, crash-reporting tool called Application Error Reporting. If a Microsoft Office program crashes, the Application Error Reporting dialog box appears and requests your permission to send a detailed report of the problem over the Internet to Microsoft. Microsoft can then use this data to address the problem in future releases and product versions.

Note The report data that is sent to Microsoft is used for informational and reporting purposes only and is not forwarded to Microsoft Product Support. You may receive information about upgrades and service packs related to your product, but if you need to contact Microsoft Product Support directly, visit the following Microsoft Web site If you do not want to have the technical data sent to Microsoft, click Don't Send.
One of the main concerns for Microsoft in developing the Application Error Reporting tool is protection of your privacy. This article contains information about the following:

Privacy and our customers

When Microsoft, other technology companies, and most governmental bodies talk about privacy, they are referring to the collection and use of personal data (such as name, age, addresses, hobbies, and so on). This approach is in keeping with the privacy regulations of the European Union (EU) as well as the Fair Information Practice Principles of the Federal Trade Commission. To view the Fair Information Practice Principles, visit the following Federal Trade Commission Web site: With the Application Error Reporting tool, the only data that is initially collected is technical data about the state of the program and your computer when the crash occurred. Your document (or any data contained in it) is not intentionally sent with the other report information. To ensure further security, the data that is collected is transmitted via a secure connection and is kept confidential and anonymous in a limited-access database.

In some cases, Microsoft may need to collect additional data, including user documents, in order to continue research on correcting a specific problem. However, before any data is collected, a message appears that clearly informs you about what data Microsoft needs to upload and allows you to cancel the transmission before any additional data is collected.

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User notification and consent

One of the goals of Application Error Reporting is to clearly notify you any time information is being collected. In the Application Error Reporting dialog box, you are notified that the program will close and a report is being generated about the problem. At this point, you can choose to view the technical information contained in the report. You can then choose whether to send the report information to Microsoft. The dialog box also states that if you choose to send the application crash information, the information will be kept strictly confidential and private.

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Data collection, use, and protection

You may ask, "Why do companies collect personal information?" Microsoft does this for several reasons:
  • Personalization: Many Web sites collect user information to better personalize their sites for each user. Among the best examples of this is the Microsoft Web site (, which uses the personal information you type in to better customize itself for you.
  • Business Model: Many sites ask users for personal information so that advertisers can better personalize the goods and services shown to customers. In return, customers receive free content and services.

    For example, the Microsoft MSN Web site ( offers free e-mail, Web sites, chats, bulletin boards, and a variety of other services to its customers. In return, those customers are exposed to products and services more tailored to their individual interests.
  • Product Communication: Many companies, especially those that offer e-products or software products, collect personal information so that you can be notified of updates, new releases, or upgrades. Application Error Reporting offers you a special version of those services: If you choose to send the report, the Application Error Reporting tool checks to see whether any fixes, service packs, or product upgrades are available that may help with the problem you are having. If information is available that may be helpful, your browser takes you to that Web site when you click the More Information link on the Thank You dialog box that appears when your report is sent.

    Note If you do not want to have the technical data sent to Microsoft, please click the Don't Send button.
For more information about the Microsoft policy on data collection, visit the following Microsoft Web site: This policy provides additional information about Application Error Reporting objectives, what types of data are collected and not collected, and what Microsoft does with the collected data.

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Data recovery

With any software, it is very important that you save your work frequently. If a program crashes while you are working on a document (spreadsheet, presentation, and so on), it is possible that you may lose any work not previously saved. If you save your document frequently, you can recover all the work done until the last time you saved the document. Application Error Reporting will try to recover your work, but you should always save your work often.

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  • TRUSTe: For a key privacy watchdog organization that is the mediator for MSN privacy disputes, visit the following TRUSTe Web site:
  • Center for Democracy and Technology: For a data privacy watchdog group that has developed comprehensive worldwide Internet privacy guidelines, visit the following CDT Web site:
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Article ID: 283768 - Last Review: 01/30/2007 23:39:44 - Revision: 9.3

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