Friday, April 23, 2010

Microsoft System Center Desktop Error Monitoring (DEM)


Enabled through error reporting on Windows desktops; the idea is that all the information that you could forward to Microsoft ( is available to the internal IT team.  DEM is available under MDOP which is provided as part of Software Assurance (SA).  DEM facilitates low-cost monitoring of application crashes.  DEM is enabled through GPO and does not require an agent. 

According to Microsoft studies 90% of users reboot if they get an application crash vs. calling the help desk.  This translates to lost time, possible lost data and still the underlying problem remains unresolved.  DEM allows you to collect data and bounce it off Microsoft's Knowledge base. 

The system requirements are a management server, reporting server and SQL database.  Overall utilization is light as the purpose of these components is to collect not query the information.  Through GPO you redirect the errors from to your internal DEM server. 

One of the interesting things you can do is turn off the user prompt that requests a user to send the data.  DEM is built on the same framework as Systems Center Operations Manager however it is rights restricted to ‘agentless’ desktop error monitoring only.  Because it is essentially OpsMgr you can also alert on crossed thresholds.  DEM categorizes all the error messages automatically to allow you to easily check the version information of the applications and its associated DLLs. You can also create a custom error message response on the alert or collect additional information like dumping information from a file.  You can report on the number of application crashes across the organization.  You can then take these batched dumps and send them to Microsoft.  Microsoft will query these against the knowledge base and will respond with the link if it is a known issue. 

Bonus Tip: Do not configure DEM to send full memory dumps from the desktop as there is a significant increase in the amount of data traversing the network.

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