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Windows Store Crashes in Sentry

Saturday, 5 August 2023

At KDE we make software for many different platforms. One of them is Microsoft Windows. But what if an application crashes on Windows? New tech enables us to track crashes right in Sentry! Time to learn about it.

When an application crashes on Windows the user can submit crash data to Microsoft. Later KDE, as publisher of the app, can retrieve the crashes from there. This is the standard crash handling for the platform and it works incredibly well. What’s more, it means we don’t need to engineer our own custom solution for the entire process. So, that is all lovely.

Alas, since we are rolling out a KDE-wide crash tracking system called Sentry it would be even nicer if we had Windows crashes in there rather than third party service. That is just what I’ve built recently.

Crashes for our Windows applications now get imported into Sentry!

There are two pieces to this puzzle. One is a symstore and one is the actual importer.

Symbol Storage

In the Linux world we not so long ago grew debuginfod, it’s basically a tiny service that lays out debug symbols in a standardized file path so it may be consumed by any number of tools by making HTTP GET requests to well-known URIs.

Windows has something like this called symbol storage. It’s incredibly simple and merely lays out Windows debug information in a well defined path setup for consumption in tools.

To maintain a symstore of our own we use the excellent python module symstore along with some custom rigging to actually retrieve our debug information files.


The second piece is our importer. It’s a trivial program that uses Microsoft’s APIs to retrieve crash data along with the minidump (the dump format used by Windows crashes), converts it into a Sentry payload, and sends it off to our Sentry instance. Sentry then consumes the crash, does symbolication using the debug symbols from our symstore, and generates a crash event.


If you are shipping your application on the Windows Store you should consider publishing your dbg.7z files on (for example here is Okular), simply file a sysadmin ticket same as with any other upload to get this published. Once that is done you can submit a change to our symstore to publish the debug symbols, and our importer to import data into Sentry. If you need help just give me a poke.

If you are publishing builds for Windows but are not yet on the Window Store, you definitely should change that. It increases your application’s reach considerably. Get in touch with sysadmins to get yourself set up.

Importing crashes into Sentry adds another piece towards higher quality, more actionable crash reports. It’s going to be amazing.

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