Thursday, 22 March 2012

Windows Memory Dump

Windows Memory Dump

Hello Techies,

It is very often we see the blue screen on the Microsoft based OS.Basically we called this blue screen as 
Blue Screen Of Death (BSOD).

I have asked the question "what is BSOD" from many guys during the interviews but usually they replied
that it happened due to RAM or HDD failure, they simply reply that in this case they will replace either RAM or HDD to fix this issue on the server. 

So today i will give a idea about this BSOD and how to analyze this issue on windows platform.

->What is BSOD ?
->The Blue Screen of Death , displayed by the Microsoft Windows family of operating systems upon encountering a critical error,of a non-recoverable nature, that causes the system to crash.Stop errors are hardware or driver related, causing the computer to stop responding in order to prevent damage to the hardware or data.

->Type of memory dump ?
->There are three type of dumps created

1. Complete Memory Dump
2. Kernal Memory Dump
3. Small Memory Dump

1. Complete Memory Dump:-A Complete Memory Dump is the largest kernel-mode dump file. This file contains all the physical and virtual memory for the machine at the time of the fault.If you select the complete memory dump option, you must have a paging file on the boot volume The Complete Memory Dump file is written to %SystemRoot%\Memory.dmp by default.The Complete memory dump option is not available on computers that are running a 32-bit operating system and that having 2 gigabytes (GB) or more of RAM (by default).

2. Kernal Memory Dump:  A Kernel Memory Dump contains all the memory in use by the kernel at the time of the crash.The dump file will be around one-third the size of the physical memory on the system. This dump will not include unallocated memory or any memory allocated to applications. It only includes memory allocated to Windows kernel.The Kernel Memory Dump file is written to %SystemRoot%\Memory.dmp by (default)

3. Small Memory Dump:- A Small Memory Dump is much smaller than the other two crash dump files. It is exactly 64 KB in size (128KB on 64-bit systems) .This kind of dump file can be useful when space is greatly limited. However, it contains very less information for the reason of the crash.

                              How to enable memory dump on a windows server

Here i am going to configure the memory dump on Win-7/server 2008

1. Right click on my computer and click on properties then click on 2. Advance system setting option on left side ,then click on 3. Advance tab, Now click on 4. setting under Startup and recovery.

Same you can configure from the registery as well from the location as mentioned below

All the things that you can configure via GUI can be configured via registery as well.

  • Write an event to the System Log checkbox = LogEvent
  • Automatically Restart checkbox = AutoReboot
  • Write Debugging Information drop-down = CrashDumpEnabled
  • Dump File text box = DumpFile
  • Overwrite any existing file checkbox = Overwrite 

                              How to Crash the server manually using keyboard

Now you have configured the memory dump on the server and now you can check as well if it is creating the memory dump file on the server or not.Also when you need to create memory dump file manually after a crash ,do the following to configure the same.

Using PS/2 keyboard :-

1. Start Registry Editor.
2. Locate the following registry subkey:


3. On the Edit menu, click Add Value, and then add the following registry entry:

Name: CrashOnCtrlScroll
Data Type: REG_DWORD
Value: 1

4. Exit Registry Editor, and then restart the computer.

 Using USB keyboad:

1. Start Registry Editor.
2. Locate the following registry subkey:


3. Make sure that the following registry entry is enabled:

Name: CrashOnCtrlScroll
Data Type: REG_DWORD
Value: 1

4. Exit Registry Editor.

If You can generate a system memory dump by holding down the right CTRL key and pressing the SCROLL LOCK key twice. (Ctrl+Scroll lock twice)

Note: Pressing left CTRL key does not generate the system memory dump.

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