Dr. Watson (aka “Microsoft Error Reporting”) is the facility that sends Microsoft an error report when an application (like Visual Studio) crashes. When you get these error reports, please strongly considering sending them. They actually mean something.
There are servers at MS that collect these reports and then sort them by callstack (location) of the crash. Once it gets enough hits for a location, a bug is filed directly against the developer of that code.Watson has been an excellent resource for making devs aware of really strange crashes that we would never have predicted beforehand. We then have another opportunity to improve the product by responding to issues customers are actually seeing. We also set goals such as fixing n% of the Watson crashes from the previous release.
It’s surprising how often just a callstack is enough to fix a problem. Sometimes we can’t fully fix the problem but can at least add something to prevent the crash. And there are times we look at a callstack and are completely puzzled how it could possibly fail there and there isn’t any sort of mitigation we can take – but that’s usually pretty rare.
Think of it this way: if we don’t know about the problem, we likely won’t fix it.