Disabling the program crash dialog

Raymond Chen


If you don’t want your program to display the standard
crash dialog,
you can disable it by setting the
flag in the process error mode.

The simple-minded way is just to do


but this overwrites the previous error mode rather than augmenting it.
In other words, you inadvertently turned off the other error modes!

Unfortunately, there is no GetErrorMode function,
so you have to do a double-shuffle.


This sets the new error mode (possibly disabling some other error
modes that had been set) and saves the previous mode. Then it
sets the error mode the right way, adding the SEM_NOGPFAULTERRORBOX
flag to the existing error modes.

Merging with existing error modes is important.
For example, the previous error mode may have included
If you casually turned that off, then the program would not longer
receive automatic alignment fault fixups and will start crashing.

(But if you read the documentation, you’ll see that
SEM_NOALIGNMENTFAULTEXCEPT is special: The system won’t let you turn
it off once it’s been turned on. Why? Because too many
people were already making this mistake
I remember before this special rule was introduced.
Programs were crashing left and right because they
didn’t do the double-set shuffle above; as a result, they
started crashing on alignment faults.
So the special rule had to be added.
Welcome to the world of compatibility, where it
is the operating system’s duty to cover for other people’s mistakes.
Mind you, the design of

the SetErrorMode function
makes this mistake
a very easy one to commit.)

Note that the error mode is a process-wide setting, not a per-thread
setting. This means that manipulating the process error mode is
not something you should do lightly, since it may have unintended
consequences for other threads (which you might not have control over).
For safety’s sake, a program should set its error mode when it starts
up and not mess with it thereafter.

Of course, if you disable the crash dialog, then

you also miss out on the opportunity to retrieve crash reports collected
by Windows Error Reporting
so you can see where your program is
crashing in the real world.

Raymond Chen
Raymond Chen

Follow Raymond   


Comments are closed.