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I have a Mini-ITX Intel DH61AG mobo w/ an Intel i3 processor and 8GB of 1600MHz DDR3 RAM. Anyways, this computer has been crashing kind of frequently. It is not an OS problem, as I have used Ubuntu (and had kernel panics), Windows 7, and Windows 8 (BSODs aren't going to keep me from tinkering =p) Anyways, each of these OSes have had problems, so I ran a HDD check, and I know it is not a heat issue because I tested the processor for a few days when I first put the computer together. When I ran memtest86+, however, I got an error - so I did individual testing, and both chips came back good, did a really intense test with both of them again (took half a day), and no errors. So, I still think the problem could be RAM, but I am not sure - I tested it pretty extensively (might let it run all night again tonight)... which brings me to my point.

Could someone explain to me (in simple terms if possible) how to READ the minidump files of Windows computers? I've tried before with a guide I found online, but failed miserably (can't remember guide, either =/). I'm fine with installing the software, I will probably need it sometime in the future as well. I have seen a few other posts on SU that just ask people to post minidump logs, but I feel as if that is too localized. Would someone be able to explain this?

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4 Answers 4

up vote 16 down vote accepted

Two options really - if you already have a minidump you can load it into bluescreenview

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This should le you read your dumps, and let you look up various parts of it online.

However, an easier solution would be whocrashed - which actually does the analysis for you and explains it simply.

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The minidumps contain information about the process that crashed. If you don't have the source code for that module then the minidump might not help you much. It contains information about the stack in each thread of a process at the time of crash, and a bunch of other stuff.

Because you probably don't have the program database files for whatever it was that crashed, you cannot tie this information back to lines of source code.

That said, you can open these in Visual Studio. I also did a very quick Google, just in case I'm missing something (being a programmer, I tend to think like a programmer a lot and I start imagining that minidumps are just for programmers). Found this:

http://www.memecode.com/docs/minidump.php

Talks about installing Microsoft Debugging Tools to analyse the minidump. Check that out, and see if you can get any useful information out of it. At the very least, the name of the module that crashed might help you.

If you suspect it's an intermittent RAM problem (and especially if it's been sitting in the computer for many years), you should try reseating (remove and reinsert) the RAM and run your tests again. With a bit of luck, that might cure it.

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Assuming you won’t/can’t/don’t want to use WinDbg to analyze, another options is to submit it online to be analyzed for you.

You could submit crash dumps to Microsoft’s Online Crash Anylsis site and get some information about the crash, but it seems to have change more to a DIY analysis tools and guide format.

OSR Online on the other hand still has an online crash dump submission and analysis feature: the Instant Online Crash Analysis.

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If you got an error from memtest, you have a ram problem. It might be that reseating the memory, or switching slots made the problem go away. Let memtest run for a week.

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