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How to solve Windows 10 crashes in less than a minute

Dirk A.D. Smith | Aug. 2, 2016
This article deals with system crashes, not application crashes or system hangs.

Granted, we know that SysInternals has been absorbed into Microsoft. However, the module is hardly a kernel OS driver, so it serves our demonstration purposes of playing the role of a third-party driver. Also, it is unlikely that a 4-year-old driver is up to date. If this were a real situation and the driver named was, for example, a video driver, there would almost certainly be a newer driver with fixes incorporated. From lmvm you would know what vendor to turn to for updated information on the driver and, likely, an updated version to install.

While most BSODs causes are easily attributed to third party drivers, some are not so clear. In these cases, the cause can be anything from an overheated system resulting from a failing case fan to faulty memory modules.

Recurring crashes that have no clear or consistent cause will often be from memory issues. Two good ways to check memory are the Windows 10 Memory Diagnostics and Memtest86.

Is Windows guilty?

Probably not. For many years, many people have been quick to blame the Windows OS for system crashes when, in fact, it rarely is. Often, when Windows code is named as the culprit, it is typically that some other driver made a request for a Windows component to perform an operation and passed a bad instruction, such as telling it to write to non-existent memory. In cases like this, the OS is often seen as the guy holding the smoking gun, but he did what he was told to do, making identification of the initiator of the request often a difficult task.

What about antivirus, backup and other utilities? It is common to see drivers like those used for antivirus or backup utilities named as the culprit. However, they might not be the bad guy. Such utilities must be active because they have to keep an eye on file change activities meaning that, regardless of what else is going on, they will often be found on the stack.

Regardless of whether you find a viable culprit named, use Google; whatever problem you are experiencing has probably been experienced by others and there are myriad places on the Internet with helpful information.

The time it takes you to read this article and to set up WinDbg will be well compensated when you find that you’ll be able to resolve most BSODs in less than a minute without help and for free. And remember that a careful study of Windows Internalswill extend your new-found skills dramatically.


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