Some of the programs I use frequently on my computer seem to crash an awful lot. Why do they keep doing this and is there anything I can do to prevent it?

If you have started to see an increase in your Windows or any programs crashing, there’s a few things you can do.

First, if the problem is regularly repeated, you should take down some notes about your actions that led up to the crash. Try to remember your sequence of actions and write down everything you did up until the program quit. Make sure you take note of the contents of any error messages or other dialogue boxes that may have come up on your screen.

After you have everything written down, you’re going to want to go to the program manufacturer’s Web site. There you can look for a patch or an update that you might be missing that can solve the crashing problem. A lot of times, this is an easy answer. If the patch or update already exists, you can just take care of the problem right then and there. If it doesn’t have a fix, you can try to find something by doing a search on the product’s name, including some of the symptoms you are experiencing while using the program.

Another thing you can do is check your Window’s event log. Windows often logs details about system and application crashes. To access the event log in Windows XP, right-click on your My Computer icon and choose Manage. Once there, look in the left pane and find Event Viewer. Go ahead and click on the little plus sign (+) to expand it. That will bring up three different sections: Application, Security and System. Choose Application. Once you do that, you will see a list of different actions in the right pane. There are quite a few of them, so I will give you some time to look over them.

For Windows Vista the process is similar. Click Start and then right-click “Computer” and select “Manage“. Find the Event Viewer off to the left and expand the tree, then expand the “Windows Logs” tree as well. You may then choose Application to continue with the tip.

Once you’re in, you will see a list of different actions in the right pane. There are quite a few, so I will give you some time to look over them.

Okay, now, if you see any that have a red X next to them, it means that your system found a serious problem with that particular application. When you double click on a red X, an Event Properties box will appear on your screen. This will give you some information on what happened to cause the application to error, etc.

Even though you have this, it may still be hard to decipher what’s really going on. If that’s the case, Microsoft has a database called Event ID that you can use to get more information. Go here for Event ID. You will have to enter all the information you know about the application and the problem to get a result. Once you have it all filled in, click on Go and you will be taken to an explanation.

Another place you can go (which seems to be more preferable) is EventID.net. This allows you to take the Event ID and Source of the application error (found in the Event Properties box we talked about earlier) and see a description of the problem. This site also includes other users’ experiences with the same error. It also gives some possible solutions to fix the error problem. You do have to subscribe to this Web site, but it is only $9 for three months worth of help.

Either of these sites may help you better understand why your programs keep crashing. They could definitely save you some peace of mind, so give them a try!

~ Erin