The official Dr. Watson
documentation states that:
If Dr. Watson is activated on Windows XP or later, a message box will appear. This message box gives you the option of sending an error report to Microsoft. If you choose Don't Send, a dump file will be created and stored on your hard disk. If you choose Send Error Report, a dump file will be created and stored on your hard disk, and will also be transmitted to Microsoft over the Internet.
However, if you have manually set the \\HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\Software\Microsoft\Windows NT\CurrentVersion\AeDebug\Auto value to zero, the Don't Send button will simply terminate the application. The Send Error Report button will create a dump file and send it to Microsoft but will not store it on your hard disk. A third button, Debug, will create a dump file and store it on your hard disk.
Thus, in theory the generated dump should be preserved except if you change the AeDebug\Auto registry value to 0. For one reason or another this never worked on my XP machines. My suggestion is that you simply use ntsd.exe or WinDbg.exe in order to generate the crash dumps - if it is your own application and test environment, it doesn't make sense to send the crashes over to MS just to retrieve them later anyway. To achieve this add the following string value for AeDebug\Debugger
in the registry:
"C:\WINDOWS\system32\ntsd.exe" -p %ld -e %ld -g -c ".dump /u d:\mydumps\crash.dmp; q"
Now ntsd is launched as the default postmortem debugger. It creates a crash dump with a unique name (/u) and exits right thereafter.
I hope this helps,