Preparing for a crash dump

What to do to get the info you need after a crash.


Preparing for a crash dump
Sven B. Schrieber

When you're programming, it's a good bet that something you do will crash your system. Or, if not, you might want to for some reason or another. When you do, you want to know what happened and why, and to do that, you want to do a memory dump. But before you can do that, you have to do some prep work. This tip, from Undocumented Windows 2000 Secrets, a Programmer's Cookbook, by Sven B. Schreiber, published by Addison-Wesley, discusses these necessary preparatory steps.

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You should proceed by starting Windows 2000 Control Panel utility and changing the following settings:

  • Increase the overall size of your page files to at least twice the amount of installed RAM. To this end, open the System applet, select the Advanced tab of the System Properties dialog, and click the Performance Options button. In the Virtual Memory frame, click the Change... button, and change the value in the Maximum size (MB) field if it doesn't match your physical memory configuration. Click Set after changing the settings, and confirm all open dialogs except the System Properties by pressing their OK buttons.
  • Next, configure the system to write a crash dump file on every Blue Screen. In the System Properties dialog, click the Startup and Recovery button, and examine the Write Debugging Information options. You should select the Complete Memory Dump option from the drop-down list to get a faithful copy of the entire memory contents. In the Dump File box, enter the path and name of the file where the dump will be copied to from the page file. %SystemRoot%memory.DMP is a commonly used setting. Check or uncheck the Overwrite and existing file option according to your own preference, and confirm all open dialogs.

To learn more about Undocumented Windows 2000 Secrets, a Programmer's Cookbook, click here.


This was first published in October 2001

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