Small memory dump files contain the least amount of information, but they also consume the least amount of disk space. By default, Windows stores small memory dump files in the %SystemRoot%\Minidump folder.
Windows always creates a small memory dump file when a Stop error occurs, even when you choose the kernel dump file or complete memory dump file options. Small memory dump files can be used by both Windows Error Reporting (WER) and debuggers. These tools read the contents of a small memory dump file to help diagnose problems that cause Stop errors.
A small memory dump file records the smallest set of information that might identify the cause of the system stopping unexpectedly. For example, the small memory dump includes the following information:
• Stop error information Includes the error number and additional parameters that describe the Stop error.
• A list of drivers running on the system Identifies the modules in memory when the Stop error occurred. This device driver information includes the file name, date, version, size, and manufacturer.
• Processor context information for the process that stopped Includes the processor and hardware state, performance counters, multiprocessor packet information, deferred procedure call information, and interrupts.
• Kernel context information for the process that stopped Includes offset of the directory table and the page frame number database, which describes the state of every physical page in memory.
• Kernel context information for the thread that stopped Identifies registers and IRQLs and includes pointers to operating system data structures.
• Kernel-mode call stack information for the thread that stopped Consists of a series of memory locations and includes a pointer to the initial location. Developers might be able to use this information to track the source of the error. If this information is greater than 16 kilobytes (KB), only the topmost 16 KB is included.
A small memory dump file requires a paging file of at least 2 megabytes (MB) on the boot volume. The operating system saves each dump file with a unique file name every time a Stop error occurs. The file name includes the date the Stop error occurred. For example, Mini011007-02.dmp is the second small memory dump generated on January 10, 2007.
Small memory dump files are useful when space is limited or when you are using a slow connection to send information to technical support personnel. Because of the limited amount of information that can be included, these dump files do not include errors that were not directly caused by the thread that was running when the problem occurred.
Source of Information : Windows 7 Resource Kit 2009 Microsoft Press