Sunday, April 04, 2010

Windows 7 Blue Screen of Death -- BSOD Minidump Files and How to Analyze It

My brand spanking new Dell laptop gave me a blue screen of death the other day with the usual jibberish that disappears within seconds.

At the very least, you would think Microsoft has changed this known color of death.  Looks like they kept the tradition even in Windows 7.  The first blue screen of death started with the first version of Windows and yes, OS/2.  (If you're reading this and you actually know what OS/2 is, I'm impressed.)

Using my trusty Googling skills, I found two solutions to help me debug these funky symbols on the screen.

The first solution is downloading Debugging Tools for Windows. Debugging Tools for Windows includes the following debuggers: WinDbg, A user-mode and kernel-mode debugger with a graphical interface. KD.exe, a kernel-mode debugger with a console interface. Cdb.exe, a user-mode debugger with a console interface. Ntsd.exe, a user-mode debugger with a console interface. Lots of command line options and manual tasks.

The second (preferred and easy) solution is downloading a freeware utility called BlueScreenView. It scans all your minidump files created during 'blue screen of death' crashes, and displays the information about all crashes in one table. For each crash, BlueScreenView displays the minidump filename, the date/time of the crash, the basic crash information displayed in the blue screen (Bug Check Code and 4 parameters), and the details of the driver or module that possibly caused the crash (filename, product name, file description, and file version).

While I'm still searching through what exactly I need to fix and what drivers caused the crash, I would recommend BlueScreeView to anyone that's going through the same experience.  Makes life a lot easier.

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