PC crash have you down in the dumps? Find the cause from dump files

That dreaded PC or program crash may be irritating, to say the least. A small comfort is that you’re not alone, as every PC owner has faced it sooner or later. Here’s a statistic of program crashes at UC Berkeley, simply to offer you an concept that laptop crashes are extra frequent than you assume.

Dump Files

Whereas this may increasingly look bleak, the excellent news is you can recuperate the PC or program from most crashes, because of built-in files like dump files that give details about the crash to assist you troubleshoot.

What are they?

As the identify suggests, dump files comprise the data “dumped” from a program’s reminiscence when it crashes. Which means you get data corresponding to the processes that have been operating at the time of the crash, date and time stamp, related packages and drivers, and extra.

These files finish with a DMP extension and comply with a selected naming sample, so you can discover them simply. For instance, minidump files are named in this format — MINI000000-00.dmp. Right here the first six digits are changed by the date whereas the final two digits are the sequence. For instance, MINI170820-01.dmp means that is the first dump file on 17th August 2020. You will discover these files in the%SystemRootpercentMinidump folder in your PC.

Varieties of dump files

The knowledge you want to know the cause of a crash is recorded in totally different dump file codecs. The 4 kinds of dump files are:

  • Full reminiscence dump
  • Kernel reminiscence dump
  • Small reminiscence dump (lower than 64KB)
  • Automated reminiscence dump

Let’s briefly have a look at every type of dump file.

Full reminiscence dump file

This feature data the contents of the system reminiscence and will additionally embrace processes that have been operating at the time of the crash. When you select this feature, you have to make sure that the boot quantity has sufficient house to carry this information.

Kernel reminiscence dump file

As the identify suggests, this feature dumps solely the kernel reminiscence and therefore, hurries up the technique of recording data in a log file. This additionally requires appreciable house for storing, sometimes about 2GB for 32-bit techniques.

Small reminiscence dump file

Any such file data a small quantity of data that might be helpful to determine the cause of a crash. This dump contains pertinent data corresponding to:

  • Cease message and its parameters
  • Record of drivers
  • Processor context just for the processor that stopped working
  • Course of and kernel context for the course of and thread that stopped working
  • Kernel-mode name stack

Automated reminiscence dump file

That is just like the kernel dump, besides that the dimension of the paging file is lower than the dimension of the RAM. That is superb when a pc crashes and the paging file is just not sufficiently big to carry the whole kernel reminiscence.

Thus, these are the 4 kinds of dump files, and you can select the one that most closely fits your wants, although mini or small dump reminiscence files are a preferred alternative because it offers exact data with out taking an excessive amount of house.

Configuring dump files

You possibly can configure the location and kind of dump files to fit your desire, and right here’s how you can do it.

  • Go to Management Panel
  • Double-click “System” and select “Advanced settings”
  • Click on the “Advanced” tab and underneath settings, navigate to “Startup and Recovery”
Dump Files


Right here, you’ll discover many choices. In the “Write Debugging Information,” select the proper reminiscence dump possibility. You possibly can change the location of the dump files as effectively.

Studying and analyzing dump files

Most instances, a program crash is attributable to a malfunctioning gadget driver or kernel module, and in the case of the latter, techniques and packages reboot robotically with out displaying the error. The excellent news although, is these reboots are recorded in dump files, so by analyzing these files, you can repair the root cause to stop it from taking place once more.

However you want the proper instruments to learn and analyze these dump files.

Microsoft affords a built-in instrument referred to as Dump Examine Utility to confirm if a dump file has been created appropriately. You will discover out extra about this instrument here.

This instrument verifies if the dump file has been created and validates its bodily and digital tackle. It studies in case of errors.

Right here is an instance of what this instrument checks for you.

Dump Files

Many instances, this sparse data is just not sufficient to know the root cause, and therefore, you want third-party instruments to glean the error data from these dump files.

Some standard instruments that may open and analyze dump files are defined under.


BlueScreenView is a well-liked instrument to investigate the minidump files in your system. It’s free, so download it, unzip the file, and run it in your system.

When you open this instrument, it’ll robotically analyze all the dump files in the default folder and can show,

  • Title of the file
  • Crash time
  • Bug verify string
  • Brought on by driver
  • Full path
  • File description
  • Bug verify code

You may get extra data when you double-click the identify of the file on the BlueScreenView interface. To know methods to repair the drawback, you may even do a Google search by right-clicking that file identify. Primarily based on the search outcomes, you can comply with the directions to repair the root cause.

WinDbg preview

Home windows Debugger (WinDbg) preview is one other helpful instrument for analyzing the minidump files. This instrument has a contemporary interface and comes with superior scripting instruments.

You possibly can download this tool here.

Dump Files

WinDbg comes with many superior options corresponding to:

  • Recollects earlier classes with the similar configuration data.
  • Auto-detects processor structure.
  • Masses asynchronously to offer you extra management.
  • Dump file offers in depth data on a user-friendly interface.
  • Integrates with NatVis or JavaScript extensions.
  • Has a darkish theme.
  • Improved keyboard navigation.
  • Comes with two highlighting options.
  • Integrates with a search dialog field.
  • Allows or disables breakpoints.
  • Comes with built-in information mannequin help.
  • Backward appropriate.

General, this instrument is complete and comes with in depth options and menu choices to make it straightforward to detect and repair the root cause of a crash.


WhoCrashed is a helpful software for analyzing dump files and for figuring out the drivers that brought about the crash.

This instrument has a free version, and you should buy the skilled version for extra superior options and apply it to a couple of laptop. However the free model ought to be sufficient for dwelling computer systems.

Dump Files


Some options of this instrument are:

  • Checks the drivers and different causes of the crash.
  • Analyzes dump files and presents the conclusion in an easy-to-understand language.
  • No extra debugging expertise are wanted to know the cause of a crash.
  • Provides strategies on methods to proceed.
  • Identifies crashes even throughout boot, offered you run this instrument in secure mode.

In all, reminiscence dump files are a good way to know the cause of a crash, so you can repair the drawback immediately. You possibly can select the sort of reminiscence dump, relying in your wants and laptop specs.

To learn and analyze these files, you want extra instruments, and a few of the standard decisions are defined above. Do tell us if you’ve used different instruments for analyzing these files.

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