Dr. Watson   












About Dr. Watson
Trouble Shooting
How to decode Dr. Watson errors


Dr. Watson is a software utility included with Microsoft Windows that is used to help detect, decode and log errors that are encountered while windows or windows programs are running.

A user can run Dr. Watson by clicking Start / Run and typing "drwatson" and clicking ok. The Windows NT and 2000 Version of Dr. Watson can be ran by click Start / Run and typing "drwtsn32".  When running Dr. Watson you should see either a new task on your toolbar or on your systray indicating that Dr. Watson is running in the background.  If errors are frequently occurring run Dr. Watson to help get additional information about the error.

When Dr. Watson encounters an error the error is logged under the file "drwtsn32.log" or "user.dmp" when running Microsoft Windows NT or Windows 2000. When running Microsoft Windows 95, 98 or ME the file is logged with a .WLG file extension and stored under the \Windows\Drwatson folder. For example 10.wlg is an example of a Dr. Watson file. 

Tip: If your computer is encountering errors often load Dr. Watson into the startup folder to load the program each time the computer boots.


Dr. Watson basic trouble shooting

  1. If errors are being encountered with a specific program ensure that the latest software updates have been downloaded for that program.
  2. Users running Microsoft Windows 95, 98 can double click the Dr. Watson icon on the systray to view errors and obtain a system snapshot of the computer. Additional detailed information can also be seen by clicking the View option and selecting the Advanced view. 
  3. Users running Microsoft Windows NT or Windows 2000 can decode the error by reviewing our below instruction on how to decode Dr. Watson errors.
  4. Verify that another program running in the background is not causing the problem by end tasking all TSR's. Additional information about TSR's can be found on document CHTSR.
  5. If after following the above steps you continue to receive Dr. Watson errors attempt to reinstall the application you are running and/or contact the manufacturer or developer of the software program or computer.

How do I disable Dr. Watson in Windows NT?

Dr. Watson by default is always running on computers running Microsoft Windows NT. To disable Dr. Watson from removing it from the registry. Note: Please review our Registry page for additional information about the registry and its dangers.  

Open the following folders and keys:


Locate and delete the key AeDebug.


The following information applies to users who are running Microsoft Windows NT or Windows 2000 and viewing the drwtsn32.log file. Each Dr. Watson error is appended to the end of the drwtsn32.log file. Therefore you may need to scroll to the end of the file to determine the exact error.

Application exception occurred:
App: .\Release\Mcshield.exe (pid=508)
When: 11/3/2001 @ 13:54:08.489
Exception number: c0000005 (access violation)

The first portion of the drwtsn32.log file as show in the above example gives us information about the program, the time and the exception. As you can see from the above example this error is occurring in mcshield.exe, which is a part of McAfee Virus Scan. We next see the date and time when this error occurred and the exception number.

Unless the proper symbol is loaded on the computer you will be limited to the above information to determine what is causing the issue. As you can see from the below example the function has no symbols therefore you be unable to determine what function caused the error to occur. Additional information about symbols can be found on Microsoft's DDK page, Microsoft Q141465 or through your system administrator. 

function: <nosymbols>
        01500878 89d5             mov     ebp,edx
        0150087a 89de             mov     esi,ebx
        0150087c 890c24           mov     [esp],ecx              ss:0172eae8=000000af
        0150087f 85db             test    ebx,ebx
        01500881 7c15             jl      01503998
        01500883 31c0             xor     eax,eax
        01500885 8a02             mov     al,[edx]                     ds:0000001c=??
        01500887 01d8             add     eax,ebx
        01500889 8d50ff           lea     edx,[eax+0xff]         ds:00a7d5d2=????????
        0150088c 8b4704           mov     eax,[edi+0x4]          ds:0279a0a8=????????
FAULT ->0150088f 8b08             mov     ecx,[eax]              ds:00000000=????????
        01500891 ff511c           call    dword ptr [ecx+0x1c]   ds:00a7d681=????????
        01500894 39c2             cmp     edx,eax
        01500896 7604             jbe     0150399c
        01500898 31c0             xor     eax,eax
        0150089a eb54             jmp     01508bf0
        0150089c 837c241400       cmp   dword ptr [esp+0x14],0x0 ss:021ac0bb=????????
        015008a1 7513             jnz     015093b6
        015008a3 8b5c2418         mov     ebx,[esp+0x18]         ss:021ac0bb=????????
        015008a7 89f2             mov     edx,esi
        015008a9 31c9             xor     ecx,ecx
        015008ab 89f8             mov     eax,edi
*----> Stack Back Trace <----*

FramePtr ReturnAd Param#1  Param#2  Param#3  Param#4  Function Name
0172F0B8 C9CAE3C0 8DD7C0C1 F99FC687 CBCCD2F9 D6D2CAC1 !<nosymbols> 
D1C0C91D 00000000 00000000 00000000 00000000 00000000 <nosymbols> 

If a function is found attempt to search for the function through Microsoft's support database or contact the software developer to obtain additional information about why the error is occurring.

Users running other versions of Windows can view the Dr. Watson information by opening the Dr. Watson program and viewing the diagnostics information and suggestions. A snapshot of the system configuration can also be seen by clicking the View option and selecting "Advanced View".

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Copyright © 2002 Øyvind Haugland
Sist endret:  13 januar 2019

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