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Memory Dump Files

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When a Stop error occurs, Windows displays information that can help you analyze the root cause of the problem. Windows writes the information to the paging file (Pagefile.sys) on the %SystemDrive% root by default. When you restart the computer in normal or safe mode after a Stop error occurs, Windows uses the paging file information to create a memory dump file in the %SystemRoot% folder. Analyzing dump files can provide more information about the root cause of a problem and lets you perform offline analysis by running analysis tools on another computer.

You can configure your system to generate three types of dump file:

• Small memory dump files Sometimes referred to as minidump files, these dump files contain the least amount of information but are very small. Small memory dump files can be written to disk quickly, which minimizes downtime by allowing the operating system to restart sooner. Windows stores small memory dump files (unlike kernel and complete memory dump files) in the %SystemRoot%\Minidump folder, instead of using the %SystemRoot%\Memory.dmp file name.

• Kernel memory dump files These dump files record the contents of kernel memory. Kernel memory dump files require a larger paging file on the boot device than small memory dump files and take longer to create when a failure has occurred. However, they record significantly more information and are more useful when you need to perform in-depth analysis. When you choose to create a kernel memory dump file, Windows also creates a small memory dump file.

• Complete memory dump files These dump files record the entire contents of physical memory when the Stop error occurred. A complete memory dump file’s size will be slightly larger than the amount of physical memory installed at the time of the error. When you choose to create a complete memory dump file, Windows also creates a small memory dump file.

By default, Windows is configured to create kernel memory dump files. By default, small memory dump files are saved in the %SystemRoot%\Minidump folder, and kernel and complete memory dump files are saved to a file named %SystemRoot%\Memory.dmp. To change the type of dump file Windows creates or to change their location, follow these steps:

1. Click Start, right-click Computer, and then select Properties.

2. Click Advanced System Settings.

3. In the System Properties dialog box, click the Advanced tab. Under Startup And Recovery, click Settings.

4. Use the drop-down Write Debugging Information list and then select the debugging type.

5. If desired, change the path shown in the Dump File box.

6. Click OK twice and then restart the operating system if prompted. The sections that follow describe the different types of dump files in more detail.

Source of Information : Windows 7 Resource Kit 2009 Microsoft Press

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