Blue Screen of Death and a dump file.  We’ve all seen them at least once in our lifetimes right?  And so many times in SBSland our reaction to just about any issue is to reinstall. 

Well, stop doing that.  We don’t need to.  We’ve got so many ways to know EXACTLY what is going on in our boxes without just saying “hmmmm… it’s sunspots….. or hmmmm….must be just a Bill thing”.

On the server, when your system “dumps” and if you click “send to Microsoft” they see it and the automagic system may even direct you to a driver fix.  As Dana confirmed, most BSODs are drivers [I would also add that I’ve heard that malware is also causing a bit of BSODs these days but you shouldn’t [hopefully – remember don’t surf at the server] see any of that on a server.

At the server you can type in start, run, drwtsn32 and see what the settings are.

My log file is located at:

C:\Documents and Settings\Administrator\Local Settings\Application Data\Microsoft\Dr Watson

And my crash dump is at

C:\Documents and Settings\Administrator\Local Settings\Application Data\Microsoft\Dr Watson\user.dmp

And look at that… I’ve even got some old events in there from December 27, 2003 of last year.  Wonder what those were?

If you need to see what’s up, flip that one setting to “Full“.  In fact, I wonder why we can’t just leave it as full on a server anyway since it should happen EXTREMELY rarely anyway and when it does you want full details.

Once it “dumps“ call Microsoft Product Support Services and have them look at it rather than knee jerk reinstalling the system [trust me, any fee you pay to have them look at it pales in comparison to the cost of reinstalling a server].

Someone I know would argue that all of us geeks should know how to do basic debugging.  I totally agree. Take some time to review this stuff, but if that starts to make your eyes glaze over, just know that there are tools that the PSS folks can use and just call them to do it.  In fact this is normally one section where you want the “beta“ stuff as they have the latest and greatest debugging stuff in there.

So …hop to it folks.. start Crash Dumping!


One Response to Would ya stop reinstalling and start crash dumping?

  1. Hi Susan, just an observation, but if you are looking to caputre the current window of an application you can press ALT-SHIFT-PRINT SCREEN and you will only capture the active windows. One of those little tricks! 🙂

    Have a great day!