Microsoft KB Archive/172779

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No Default Debugger Causes Application to Close Without Warning


The information in this article applies to:

  • Microsoft Windows NT Workstation versions 3.51, 4.0
  • Microsoft Windows NT Server versions 3.51, 4.0


Applications that are running on Windows NT Server or Windows NT Workstation, either 16 bit or 32 bit, mysteriously close with no warning.


There are several causes for this type of behavior.

The first cause of this symptom could be that the application crashed. When an application "crashes" in Windows NT, NT will attempt to load a specified debugger to log information about the crash. By default, Windows NT launches Dr. Watson to capture such crashes.

If the default debugger is removed or no debugger is specified, the system will attempt to launch the debugger, but since the debugger is no longer installed or specified, the debug launch will just quit, and the crashing application will die/"disappear" with no warning notice.


To ensure that you are using the correct debugger, check the following registry key:

WARNING: Using Registry Editor incorrectly can cause serious, system-wide problems that may require you to reinstall Windows NT to correct them. Microsoft cannot guarantee that any problems resulting from the use of Registry Editor can be solved. Use this tool at your own risk.

  1. Start Registry Editor and locate the following Registry subkey in the HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE subtree:

          \Software\Microsoft\Windows NT\CurrentVersion\AEDEBUG 
  2. For more information on this setting, see the following article in the Microsoft Knowledge Base:

Additional query words: debugref

Keywords :
Issue type : kbprb
Technology : kbWinNTsearch kbWinNTWsearch kbWinNTW400 kbWinNTW400search kbWinNT351xsearch kbWinNT400xsearch kbWinNTW351xsearch kbWinNTW351 kbWinNTSsearch kbWinNTS400xsearch kbWinNTS400 kbWinNTS351 kbWinNTS351xsearch

Last Reviewed: February 27, 1999
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